December 10th, 2009 by Editor
C/o CMF MENA: 154, Bd Bir Anzarane, Résidence les Fleurs Bat. B
Maarif – Casablanca – Maroc
56 58 99 22 ((0212+54 Tel: 58 99 22 +212(0) Fax:Fax
Casablanca-AFOINET– December 10, 2009
International Human Rights Day
Advocacy for the right of access to information in Arab states
“It is time for Arab states to enact laws on the of access to information and for the League of Arab States to adopt a regional charter on the right to information.”
To mark the International Day of Human Rights, the Arab Freedom of Information Network (AFOINET) published a report entitled “For the defence of the right of access to information in Arab States”. The report appeals to the governments and parliaments of Arab States to undertake national consultations to enact laws on the right of access to information.
The report also calls upon the League of Arab States to adopt a charter on the right to information and develop mechanisms for the transparency in the management of its affairs along the lines of other unions and regional grouping of states worldwide, so that anyone can access its information and documentation.
The report’s recommendations also call for international intergovernmental organizations to include projects on the right of access to information in their national and regional programs like they do in other countries in Africa and America South and encourage organizations of civil society in Arab countries to mobilize to demand their governments’ recognition and implementation of this basic human right.
The report covers the international standards which protect the right to information necessary for any democratic law and describes the situation of this right in some Arab states.
Jamal Eddine Naji, president of CMF MENA said: “We celebrate this international human rights day to remind the Arab governments that the right to information is a human right recognized by international law; and we believe that it is time for Arab governments to recognize in their constitutions and by a specific law. The Arab states cannot any more remain behind the international trend of recognition of this right. 90 countries have already adopted relevant laws.”
“AFOINET believes that the right of access to information is necessary for the protection of other rights, in particular the right to freedom of expression. It is also necessary for the promotion the culture of transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs; and for the empowerment of citizens’ participation in public life. It is also necessary for the promotion of market efficiency, investment and fair competition for government’s tenders. The media which enjoy access to public information without hindrance can play critical role with respect to government policies and improve its investigative work on issues that the public have the right to know about,” said Said Essoulami, director of CMF MENA and coordinator of the Arab freedom of Information Network,
P.S: Copies of the report have been sent with letters to all Prime Ministers and Presidents of Parliaments in Arab States as well as to all offices of international intergovernmental organisations operating in each Arab country.
For further information please contact
 *The Arabic Network for Freedom of Information includes many Arab countries and EOHR is a member in the network.
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