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The environment and human well-being are inextricably linked. When governments, businesses and others make decisions about land and natural resources, they inevitably impact the health, livelihoods and quality-of-life of local communities. So it stands to reason that the public should have a right to be involved in environmental decision-making—specifically, to know what is at stake, to participate in the decision itself and to have the ability to challenge decisions that disregard human rights or harm ecosystems. These three fundamental rights are known as environmental democracy—and not all nations provide it to their citizens. The new Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) is the first-ever online platform that tracks and scores 70 countries’ progress in enacting national laws that...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
As the British public finally got a look at memos sent by Prince Charles to government ministers, the re-elected Conservative government indicated its intention to tighten control of the freedom of information law. The release of the royal memos culminating a 10-year legal battle fought by The Guardian newspaper, which finally got to describe the memos: The letters reveal that Charles lobbied ministers, including the former prime minister Tony Blair, on a wide range of issues, including agriculture, the armed forces, architecture and homeopathy. During the long legal tussle, decided only recently by a Supreme Court ruling (See FreedomInfo.org report), Parliament approved an absolute FOIA exemption for the royal family. The ruling in the case challenged the government’s use of the so-...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The Ukrainian parliament has passed new laws encouraging the release of government open data and providing more information from the country’s archive of Soviet-era KGB files.Parliament April 9 approved a law to encourage government agencies to publish free operational data, statistics and reports on government websites and the national open data web platform at data.gov.ua.“The law doesn’t stipulate which categories of data that must be made public, however,” reported Bozhena Sheremeta in The Kyiv Post. “The Cabinet of Ministers must list the types of data that must be public, standards, staffing and responsibility for accuracy. The specifications must be approved in secondary legislation.”In another transparency development, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk announce...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Thirty-five information commissioners from 25 countries, meeting April 21 in Santiago, Chile, “expressed concern” regarding “some important challenges” to the right to information. In particular, the commissioners identified: The continuing inequalities that limit the right to access information for all citizens, The deterioration of the right to access information because of the approval of legislation and public policies contrary to that right, The weakening of the right to access information through the use of new technologies, The lack of adequate funding, support and maintenance of the organs of supervision. The commissioners urged governments, civil society organizations, the international community and citizens “to remain vigilant and work together to protect, promot...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
A new rating of open government in the United Kingdom is the vanguard of a much larger evaluative project planned by Transparency International.   The Berlin-based nongovernmental organization already has applied the new methodology to Ghana, Indonesia, Peru and Ukraine, with results to be released soon. Plans for much wider use of the tool are in the works.   The first glimpse of the effort came in the Open Governance Scorecard results for the UK, compiled by Transparency International UK.   For more Please click on the link below: http://www.freedominfo.org/2015/04/ti-rates-uk-openness-plans-reports-on-more-countries/...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Inclusion of a provision on access to information in the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals is now considered likely and attention is focusing on how to measure progress toward achieving the goal. Supporters of Goal 16.10 are optimistic that it will be included in the final document, scheduled for adoption by the General Assembly in September. The goal states that all UN members should “ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms, in accordance with national legislation and international agreements.” “The proposed Goal 16 target on access to information now appears safe, rather surprisingly so,” according to a recent article by Bill Orme, the UN representative for the Global Forum for Media Development. “This is a major advance.” “Unle...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The Tshwane Principles which is a set of guidelines which have been developed on the basis of the international and national laws, standards, good practices and contributions of academics for balancing the need for keeping information confidential on grounds of national security and disclosing national security related information in public interest.      ...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
The Declaration defines a human rights defender as anyone working for the promotion and protection of human rights. This broad definition encompasses professional as well as non-professional human rights workers, volunteers, journalists, lawyers and anyone else carrying out, even on an occasional basis, a human rights activity.The Declaration articulates existing human rights in a way that makes it easier to apply them to the situation of human rights defenders. It specifies how the rights contained in the major human rights instruments, including the right to freedom of expression, association and assembly, apply to defenders. It also outlines the specific duties of States and the responsibility of everyone with regard to defending human rights.The rights protected under the Declaration i...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
An open government – conventionally understood as a government thatthat shares information, empowers people with tools to hold the governmentaccountable, and fosters citizen participation in public policy deliberations – is anecessary component of a system of government founded on the rule of law. In the South Asian Region the top three countries were India (37th rank), followed by Nepal (40) and Sri Lanka (52). For full report click at the link below http://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/ogi_2015.pdf...Read more
Posted By : Seema Choudhary
Summary Compiled for Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative by Venkatesh Nayak with inputs from members of FOIANET (November 2011)(ATI laws that expressly recognise the rights of citizens only are excluded from this compilation)Source: CHRI...Read more
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Summary6th June 2011: Question 1(a)Are political parties covered by the national access to information (or FOI) law in your country? (b) What are the provisions that govern access to information regarding political parties in your country?Source: CHRI...Read more
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This pamphlet was produced by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and provides a basic overview of the Right to Information, why it matters, how to use it and how it has helped in other countries. It encourages readers to recognise their right to information and the power they have to expose corruption, spur economic development and build democracy by obtaining information and exerting their rights....Read more
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This valuable guide tries to answer the question “what happens once we have an access to information law in place?” Drawing on experiences from across the world with helpful case studies and offering practical, step-by-step advice, it deals with the tasks of creating a culture of openness, a supportive legislative regime, effective systems and of monitoring implementation. It is an indispensable resource for individuals, NGOs and governments alike. Source CHRI ...Read more
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This valuable guide tries to answer the question “what happens once we have an access to information law in place?” Drawing on experiences from across the world with helpful case studies and offering practical, step-by-step advice, it deals with the tasks of creating a culture of openness, a supportive legislative regime, effective systems and of monitoring implementation. It is an indispensable resource for individuals, NGOs and governments alike. Source CHRI ...Read more
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The United Nations Development Programme is the UN’s global development network and one of the largest UN agencies. Its Disclosure Policy aims to ensure that information concerning UNDP programmes and operations is available to the public. This document sets out the policy, which builds on principles articulated in the UN Millennium Declaration, the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and the Plan of Action on the Information Society....Read more
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The World Bank is one of world’s largest multilateral organisation and a major provider of financial assistance for capital development in developing countries. This document sets out the Bank’s updated disclosure policy (2001), which builds on its original (1994) efforts to make information available to the public and enhance sustainability of development through transparency. The update followed a major review and the document discusses its findings along with a detailed list of information now available from the Bank and the limitations that may be encountered when requesting information....Read more
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The Commonwealth has recognised the fundamental importance of the right to access information as far back as the 1971 Singapore Principles. This commitment has since been reaffirmed and rearticulated in the 1980 Barbados Communique, the 1999 Report of the Expert Group on the Right to Know, the 1999 Freedom of Information Principles and the 2003 CHOGM Declaration. This document provides an overview (in English) of the Commonwealth’s commitment to the right to access information and key extracts from official declarations and documents....Read more
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