Milestone as key Freedom of Information recommendations on Angola accepted by the
Universal Periodic Review
5 June 2015
Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) welcomes and commends the Government of the Republic of Angola on accepting the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group recommendation No. 134.41 to amend and effectively implement the country’s Freedom of Information Act.
In its report to the UN Human Rights Council, AFIC raised concerns with the situation of right to information in Angola in respect of lack of adequate protective legal environment, inadequacies of the country’s Freedom of Information Law and lack of implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.
The Republic of Angola has neither ratified nor implemented key regional and international treaties that recognise citizens’ right to information. These include the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption and the African Statistics Charter.
AFIC agrees with the UN Human Rights Council that the current Freedom of Information Law does not meet international standards in terms of limited scope, lacks clarity and has ambiguous provisions on process, language and accessibility, wide exemptions, lack of whistle-blower protection, absence of obligation to publish information and no right to appeal as well as strong and independent oversight mechanism for implementation.
The UPR Working Group in its outcome report has accepted AFIC’s recommendations; which Angola has committed to implement. AFIC calls upon Angola to also work in collaboration with civil society develop and implement a comprehensive Freedom of Information Action Implementation Programme with clear actions, time frames and resources to advance the right to information in the country. In addition oversight for the right to information should be strengthened by establishing and an independent Freedom of Information Monitoring Commission. To guarantee its independence appropriate, appropriate amendments of the existing law should be urgently pursued.
In line with its strategic plan, AFIC will continue to work with the stakeholders in Angola to support the realization of UPR recommendation. In addition, it will continue to monitor the situation of right to information in Africa in terms of UPR and ACHPR mechanisms.