Advocate Pansy Tlakula, the Chair of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) and Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, has called for contributions from stakeholders as part of an ongoing consultative process to develop Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections for Africa, which was unanimously agreed at the 18th Extra-Ordinary Session of the Commission held from July 29 to August 7, 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Resolution was adopted bearing mind that there exists no regional standard on the role of access to information in the electoral process, as a means of guaranteeing the credibility of elections in State Parties and the overall strengthening of democratic governance in Africa.
Following series of experts’ meetings, a draft guideline was developed and is currently undergoing consultative process.
The purpose of the Guidelines is to expand and amplify the scope of existing, progressive legislation, policies and practices in State Parties to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Charter) that provide for access to information contained in documents or records under the control of public and private institutions directly involved in the electoral process.
In developing these Guidelines, reference was made to global, regional and sub-regional standards on access to information and elections.
The guidelines explicitly highlight the duties of electoral stakeholders under the general principles which include: Proactive disclosure; duty to create, keep, organize and maintain information; procedure for accessing information; exemptions and public interest override; and whistleblowing protection.
Furthermore, the guidelines also outline the roles of election management bodies, political parties, election observers and monitors, law enforcement agents, media regulatory bodies, and media and civil society under the specific principles.
Lastly the implementation process of these guidelines was emphasized among which are: review, dissemination, training, and reporting
The PDF version of the full Draft Guidelines on Access to Information and Elections for Africa can be downloaded from: http://www.achpr.org/files/news/2017/05/d288/draft_guidelines_on_ati__elections_for_africa_eng.pdf
Contributions should be sent to the Secretariat of the African Commission by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com before June 30, 2017.