23 May 2011

Model access to information law for Africa

The Special Rapporteur for freedom of expression and access to information in Africa is requesting comments on a draft model access to information law for African Union member states.

In 2010, pursuant to resolution 167 (XLVIII), the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights authorised the Special Rapporteur to initiate the process of developing a model access to information law for Africa.

In pursuance of this mandate, in October 2010 the Special Rapporteur, in partnership with the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria, convened a panel of experts to inform the content of the model law. From those experts a drafting team was selected. SAHA has been instrumental in this process, with members of the Freedom of Information Programme included in the panel of experts and the drafting team.

The first draft of the law has been finalised and a public consultation on the draft law was held in Banjul, The Gambia, on 29 April, during the 49th ordinary session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. A series of further sub-regional public consultations will be held from June to August in Maputo, Dakar, Nairobi and Cairo. If you would like further information regarding the public consultations please contact the Centre for Human Rights.

While unfortunately funding constraints are likely to limit the number of access to information experts and civil society members that are able to attend the public consultations, it is hoped that those who are unable to attend will take the opportunity to make a written submission on the model law. To download a copy of the model law and to make a submission click here. Written submissions must be received by 15 August 2011.

Feedback received from the public consultation and submission process will guide and inform the finalisation of the law.

Once finalised it is hoped that the model law will be adopted by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights at its 50th ordinary session in October 2011 to guide member states in their adoption or review of access to information laws and provide uniform benchmarks for evaluating implementation.