The Right to Access to Information in the Americas. Inter-American Standards and Comparison of Legal Frameworks (2012) In this follow-up report, the Office of the Special Rapporteur lays out the most important aspects of the laws in some of the Member States in which access laws have been approved or legal frameworks for access are reflected in administrative provisions of a general nature. Thus, this report presents an overview of the normative framework surrounding the right to access to information provided by specialized laws on the subject in Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, the United States, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.
The Inter-American Legal Framework regarding the Right to Access to Information This book explains the principles that should be followed in designing and implementing a legal framework that guarantees the right of access to information. Likewise, it presents the minimum requirements of the right according to regional doctrine and jurisprudence, and, finally, it presents a series of domestic rulings from countries in the region that, in the Office of the Special Rapporteur’s opinion, constitute best practices on the subject of access to information and should therefore be distributed and discussed.
Special Study on the Right of Access to Information (Only available in Spanish) The purpose of this Special Study regarding the Right of Access to Information is to contribute to facilitating understanding of the right of access to information, its scope and its limits and to become a useful took for working on activities in promotion of the right of access to information.
This book explains the principles that should be followed in designing and implementing a legal framework that guarantees the right of access to information. Likewise, it presents the minimum requirements of the right according to regional doctrine and jurisprudence, and, finally, it presents a series of domestic rulings from countries in the region that, in the Office of the Special Rapporteur’s opinion, constitute best practices on the subject of access to information and should therefore be distributed and discussed.
This report is a brief update to the Report regarding the same topic published in 2004.
In this chapter, the Office of the Special Rapporteur analysed the situation of the Member States of the OAS regarding the right to freedom of information, in an effort to register the recent evolution regarding this question in the region. With this goal, in July 2003, an official questionnaire was prepared which was distributed among the permanent missions of the Member States, requesting information regarding the constitutional and legal dispositions and the facts regarding the jurisprudence and procedures for implementation regarding access to information. The information sent by the States has been integrated into this research, together with sources from public media and non-governmental organizations in order to create a panorama on the situation of every Member State. In this Chapter, the Office of the Special Rapporteur informs regarding its conclusions with respect to the right of access to information in the region.
This document presents some of the judicial decisions which constitute best practices with respect to the protection and guarantee of access to information. A group of cases have been selected to to summarize sentences from different countries in the Americas, organized thematically according to the inter-American standards regarding access to information.
This report contains an enumeration of the legislation and existing practices in the Member States of the OAS with respect to the right to access to information and habeas data. It is based on information issued from the States using official questionnaires distributed by the Office of the Special Rapporteur, and on information gathered by national and international non-governmental organizations.
Judgment of September 19, 2006. This case addresses the State’s refusal to provide Marcelo Claude Reyes, Sebastián Cox Urrejola and Arturo Longton Guerrero with certain information that they requested from the Foreign Investment Committee regarding forestry company Trillium and the Río Cóndor project. In this ruling, the Inter-American Court recognized that the right to access to information is a human right protected under Article 13 of the American Convention.
Judgment dated November 24, 2010. The case addresses the arbitrary detention, torture and forced disappearance of 70 people as the result of operations of the Brazilian army between 1972 and 1975. The purpose of the operations was to eradicate the so-called Araguaia Guerrillas. The operations took place in the context of the Brazilian military dictatorship. The case also addressed the damage to the right to access to information that the family members of the victims suffered. In this respect, the Inter-American Court reiterated its jurisprudence on the right to freedom of thought and expression, which has held that Article 13 of the American Convention protects the right of all individuals to request information held by the State, with the safeguards permitted under the Convention’s regime of exceptions.
2. Every person has the right to seek, receive and impart information and opinions freely under terms set forth in Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights. All people should be afforded equal opportunities to receive, seek and impart information by any means of communication without any discrimination for reasons of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origin, economic status, birth or any other social condition.
3. Every person has the right to access to information about himself or herself or his/her assets expeditiously and not onerously, whether it be contained in databases or public or private registries, and if necessary to update it, correct it and/or amend it.
4. Access to information held by the state is a fundamental right of every individual. States have the obligation to guarantee the full exercise of this right. This principle allows only exceptional limitations that must be previously established by law in case of a real and imminent danger that threatens national security in democratic societies.
“The Office of the Special Rapporteur issues joint declarations with the other rapporteurships for freedom of expression, including the United Nations Special Rapporteur
on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and
Expression, the Representative on Freedom of the Media from the Organization
for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the Rapporteur for the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights”.