Rwanda : Civil Society platform rallies for access to information
The Civil Society Platform on Friday commemorated the right to information day and rallied their commitment to raise awareness to the Rwandan public on their right to access public information.
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.
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 platform says that citizen participation in promoting good governance helps them to contribute effectively to the national development agenda.
They also called upon the 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.
Speaking to the media at their offices in Kigali, the platform Spokesperson Edward Munyamaliza said that 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.”
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 platform however, appreciated the steps taken by the Rwandan Government in the enactment of the access to information law.
The access to information bill has been approved by both chambers of parliament and is awaiting to be signed into law by the president.