Rwanda Civil Society’s has commended that government of Rwanda, for the steps taken in improving and promoting the citizens’ access to information and putting in place laws and guidelines.
The statement was released as part of the Rwanda Civil Society Platform Commemoration of the 28th of September 2012 Right to Information Day
Mr. Edouard Munyamaliza, the platform’s Chairperson, said “We, the Rwanda Civil Society organizations seek to commemorate this international day by appreciating the steps taken by the Rwandan Government in the enactment of the access to information law and to raise awareness to the Rwandan public on their right to access public information for citizen participation in promoting good governance in order to contribute effectively to the national development agenda”.
“We also call upon our government (The Executive and Legislative Assembly) to speed up the Access to Information Law enactment process in order to provide the legal framework for all stakeholders to promote the information freedoms enshrined in the Rwandan constitution as well as to allow Rwandan Citizens to start exercising and enjoy their rights to information”.
The 28th of September international day on access to information has been recommended by various platforms including the African Platform on Access to Information to be endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly, as a date to raise awareness about the importance of the right of access to information throughout the world.
International Right to information began on September 28, 2002, when freedom of information organizations from around the world came together in Sofia, Bulgaria and created the FOI Advocates Network, a global coalition working together to promote the right of access to information for all people and the benefits of open, transparent, and accountable governments. The idea to commemorate this day came up as a way to share ideas, strategies, and success stories about the development of freedom of information laws and genuinely transparent governance around the world.
The right to information is recognized under the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda as amended to date in its article 33, under Article of 19 the Universal declaration of human rights, under the international covenant on civil and political rights in its article 19 and under Article 9 of the African charter on human and peoples’ Rights.
The Rwandan government has initiated an Access to Information Bill which is still in parliament, as sign to show its commitment in the improvement of citizen’s participation in the decision making process and promoting good governance.
“The Right to Information is a fundamental Human Right and a touchstone for all other freedoms enshrined in the Constitution and international conventions. The right to free speech and expression include the right to receive and collect information and helps citizens to participate in governance and hold their leaders accountable” Munyamaliza said.
Today, September 28th, Rwanda Civil Society Platform is organizing a press conference on the Annual International Right to Information Day, which will be marked with a round table meeting with the media on Rwanda’s Access to Information. This important event will take place at the Rwanda Civil Society Platform offices located at Kacyiru,
The significance of commemorating this day is to raise awareness about every citizen’s right on access to information.