Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

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FOI/RTI Principles

Several international organisations have developed basic principles that must underpin regime of transparency and people’s access to information. In this section you will find a compilation of best principles on RTI. A progressive RTI law must be informed by these best practice principles.

The Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information were developed in order to provide guidance to those engaged in drafting, revising, or implementing laws or provisions relating to the state’s authority to withhold information on national security grounds or to punish the disclosure of such information. They are based on international (including regional) and national law, standards, good practices, and the writings of experts. They address national security—rather than all grounds for withholding information. All other public grounds for restricting access should at least meet these standards.   These Principles were drafted by 22 organizations and academic centres (listed in the Annex) in consultation with more than 500 experts from more than 70 countries at...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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