AFIC Congratulates Côte d'Ivoire on Adoption of Access to Information Law
Kampala: February 5, 2014
African Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) congratulates the Government and people of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire upon the adoption of Access to Information (FOI) law.
The adoption of the law is significant not only for Côte d'Ivoire but Francophone Africa where fewer countries have adopted access to information laws. The adoption of this law represents the boldness of President Alassane Ouattara's Government to consolidate a democratic culture the country is establishing. Significantly, the Government of Côte d'Ivoire has demonstrated that it can be trusted on its word.
Prior to President Quattara's government, the human rights record of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire was in question. The country only made its first and combined State Report under Article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) in October 2012 yet it is required to report to the ACHPR every two years on legal and other measures the Government is taking to promote and protect the rights protected by the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
At the opening of the 52nd ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights held in Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire in October 2012, President Quattara promised that his Government would ratify and effectively implement all African Union treaties on human rights. This was re-echoed by Prime Minister, Daniel Kablan Dancan at the London 2013 Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit when he delivered the President's pledge to meet eligibility for OGP. The OGP is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen. So far eight African governments are members. These are: South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Sierra Leone and Tunisia.
Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) provided guidance on how the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire could meet OGP eligibility. The passage of the access to information law within record two months demonstrates the highest level of commitment by the Government and a clear indication that the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire will meet its December 2014 deadline of meeting eligibility for OGP membership. The law mirrors Africa's Model on Access to Information including allowing access to all legal and natural persons, providing for independent oversight and no requirement for justification of need for information.
AFIC understands that passage of an access to information law is only a first step and calls upon President Quattara to promote effective implementation in all sectors of the Government. This calls for urgent appointment of the Information Commissioner, designating, training and equipping Information Officers, creating public awareness of the law as well as establishment of an auditable system to implement, monitor and report on the implementation of the law. AFIC also calls upon the Government of Côte d'Ivoire to expedite passage of Asset Disclosure legislation for senior officials and politicians, improve fiscal transparency.
AFIC is a pan African membership civil society organization and resource centre promoting the right of access to information in Africa. We are committed to work constructively with all stakeholders to realize the right of access to information in Africa in line with regional standards and international best practice. AFIC has 28 civil society members in 18 African countries.
For more information please contact: Gilbert Sendugwa, Coordinator/ Head of Secretariat