Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
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Alerts

Calls to action or awareness building for specific RTI issues.


      Dear all,One silver lining in the dark cloud that was the debate on the amendments to the Whistleblowers Protection Act (WBP Act) was the frequent mention made of the power of the right to information (RTI) and the numerous attacks on RTI users. Several MPs cutting across party lines made these salutary references. Even the Hon'ble Minister of State for Personnel who was piloting the Amendment Bill, justified the amendments as being necessary to further the cause of transparency and accountability and protection of persons combating against corruption though he did not mention how curtailing the scope of whistleblowing by 90% would help those very public causes.The National Campaign for People's Right to Information (NCPRI) was referred to by one MP in the context of the attack...Read more
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Press Note on the Documentation of RTI Interventions Skill Building Training Session for Civil Society  ...Read more
Posted By : Saine
Being an RTI user or activist in India is fraught with dangers. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), an NGO based-out of New Delhi, has compiled data of the number of individuals who have been allegedly attacked and harassed for seeking information under the RTI Act since its implementation in 2005.   See more : http://www.thenewsminute.com/article/four-charts-show-it%E2%80%99s-not-safe-be-rti-activist-india-34091...Read more
Posted By : Saine
The director-general (DG) of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Government of India, has declared that the bureau cannot revise the new template for capturing the number of murders of right to information (RTI) users, social activists, whistleblowers and mediapersons separately, in addition to the instances of grievous hurts, separately, so that these could be counted as human rights violations. The DG, NCRB, who is a serving officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS), said this in reply to a letter written by Baijayant (Jay) Panda, Member of Parliament (MP) in the Lok Sabha from Odisha. Currently, there is no way of differentiating the thousands of other murders from these attacks on human rights activists. Panda had simultaneously suggested that such information be passed on to the ...Read more
Posted By : Saine
Dear all, Readers will remember the heated debate that took place inside and outside Parliament during the budget session earlier this year, on the proposals to amend the Whistleblowers Protection Act, 2011 (WBP Act). The WBP Amendment Bill approved by the Lok Sabha and now pending consideration in the Rajya Sabha seeks to amend the WBP Act substantially apart from rectifying some typographical errors.   In May I had circulated critical comments on these amendment proposals arguing: "if the Whistleblower Act amendments go through, it might be easier to pass a camel through the eye of a needle than to get a whistleblower complaint inquired as it will have to pass through 32 tests."The Cabinet Note attached to the WBP Amendment Bill only proves this allegory (see attachment).   ...Read more
Posted By : Saine
The right to information bill in Sri Lanka has lost momentum, according to several persons following the legislation that the new government said would pass in the first 100 days. Political attention has turned to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution concerning the election system. The RTI bill “was presented and approved by the Cabinet but the Government is hesitant to table it at Parliament in case it is defeated and a momentum against the government is generated as s result,” according to one source close to the debate who added, “As far as we know the government is keen to enact the Bill and we still continue to pressure the government to do so as soon as possible.” An article by Lionel Guruge in The Sunday Leader says, “During its inception, the RTI bill was the topic o...Read more
Posted By : Saine
The RTI is virtually being strangled to death by deliberate delays in appointments. If you find a law uncomfortable, even one that you supported and passed, what should you do? Repealing it would not be politically smart; amending or diluting it will give ammunition to your critics. So the best strategy is to strangulate it, softly and steadily, until it is rendered lifeless and ineffectual. Something like this is happening to the Right to Information (RTI) Act under the current government. Passed with much fanfare in 2005, the RTI Act was path-breaking and considered a major step forward in encouraging transparency in governance. It was exceptional also because it came about as a response to demands from the ground, from civil society groups that had demonstrated the importance of such ...Read more
Posted By : Saine
Last week, upon being requested by a section of the family of the leader of the Indian movement for independence, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, to make the government’s secret files on him public, the Prime Minister, who was visiting West Bengal, is reported to have said, “It was the nation’s duty to so do”.[i]   Strangely, neither the website of the PM’s office, nor that of any other government department has put out any official report of this conversation, unlike last month’s much publicised meeting of the PM with other members of Netaji’s family in Germany.   Except for two pictures of the Kolkata meeting with the PM tweeted by the Press Information Bureau, all media reports were based on statements made by some members of the Bose family about the “assurance” g...Read more
Posted By : Saine
Afghanistan's civil society pushes the government for strong and clear access to information law. The press release for demands are attached....Read more
Posted By : Suchismita Goswami