The African Union recognizes the right to information through different treaties including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa, the African Charter on Democracy Elections and Governance, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, the Charter on Values and Principles of Public Service and Administration and the African Youth Charter.
These instruments provide important opportunities for the advancement of the right to information on the continent. AFIC and its members advocate for their ratification, domestication and effective implementation by African states.
AFIC successfully organised an Eastern Africa regional dialogue on ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance as well as the promotion of right to information in Eastern Africa in Nairobi in August 2011. The dialogue brought together 60 government and civil society leaders from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. Delegates were drawn from national human rights institutions, national election management bodies, ministries of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs as well as civil society organizations. Country teams produced country action plans whose implementation is underway. AFIC’s work on promotion of ratification and domestication of regional treaties has been supported by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights –East Africa Office, the Deepening Democracy Programme (DDP) and the Right to Information Fund of the Open Society Foundations.
To advance right to information at regional level, AFIC in collaboration with other members of the African Platform on Access to Information (APAI) Working Group championed the development and adoption of APAI Declaration. The Declaration was adopted at the Pan-African Conference on Access to Information in Cape Town in September 2011. Since the adoption, AFIC and its APAI partners have disseminated and campaigned for the wider use of APAI declaration. At its 51st Session held in Banjul, The Gambia, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights passed resolution No. 222 authorising its Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information to expand Part IV of the Declaration of Freedom of Expression in Africa.
The Commission also agreed to recommend to the African Union Heads of State Summit to declare September 28 Right to Information Day as well as endorsing the Access to Information Model Law being developed by ACHPR. Funding for scaling up AFIC’s work for regional advocacy for ratification, domestication and effective implementation of regional frameworks is being sought.