CSO Coalition Statement Inter-Session Activity Report by Commissioner Jamesina Essie L. King Presented during the 67th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights
The GPU and Civil Society Coalition on Access to Information would like to thank the Special Rapporteur Commissioner Jamesina Essie L. King’s for the brilliant recommendations on freedom of expression and access to information made in her activity report.
We want to assure Commissioner King and her office that the Coalition has been consistently engaging the government through the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Information and Communications Infrastructure to ensure that the ATI bill is successfully passed and implemented.
As recommended by the Commissioner, taking all the necessary measures to safeguard and protect the welfare of journalists is at the forefront of GPU’s mandate. Evidently, our most recent activity was the submission of the Union’s position paper on safety of Journalists and a research report on crimes against journalists from 1994 to 2016.
GPU highly welcomes the Special Rapporteur’s reminder to the State and strongly endorse the recommendations outlined below. The State is urged to consider the recommendations for the sake of accountability and transparency.
Freedom of Expression and Access to Information
– Expedite the adoption of legislation on the right to access information, in accordance with international standards and as elaborated in the Commission’s Model Law;
– Ensure effective implementation of access to information laws, including through adopting independent oversight mechanisms which “monitor, promote and protect the right of access to information and resolve disputes on access to information,” as stipulated in Principle 34 of the Declaration;
– Take the necessary measures to prevent attacks on journalists and, when they do occur, to investigate them, to punish perpetrators and to ensure that victims have access to effective remedies, as provided in Principle 20 of the Declaration;
– Respond to Letters of Urgent Appeal with the information requested, and to take appropriate action to remedy the human rights violations which are referenced in the Letters; – Ensure protection of freedom of expression by revising laws which impede the right of freedom of expression;
– Take all measures to guarantee respect and protect the right to freedom of expression and access to information through ensuring access to internet and social media services, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic