on the South
Asia Conference on Right to Information
5th 6th and 7th July,1999
Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) is an international NGO presently
headquartered in India and working for the practical realisation
of human rights in the Commonwealth.
has been working on the Right to Information as part of its commitment
to democracy, goods governance and freedom of speech and expression.
CHRI believes that the right to information is at the
core of accessing a myriad other rights, and in the context of the
developing world, basic rights like adequate food, shelter and livelihood.
It is also a potentially potent tool for minimising corruption and
ensuring accountability and transparency in governance. We therefore
believe that a right to information legislation is a must in a democratic
set up and that such legislation must be framed through the widest
possible debate in all constituencies.
has therefore been working on the issue of right to information
with the twin aims of generating mass awareness on the issue and
on fine tuning aspects of the right qua policy makers, based on
peoples expectations from the law. We have been doing this through
wide dissemination of simple publications on the issue, as well
as by holding workshops with different groups consisting of NGOs,
bureaucrats, media persons and even students. Last year we held
nine such workshops in different rural and urban parts of India.
feedback from organisations in other countries in the region and
from our recent conference on human rights advocacy in Africa, suggested
a high level of interest in the developments on the right to information,
especially the unique nature of and different strands taken by the
Indian campaign. We therefore decided to initiate a sharing of issues,
strategies and possible concerted action such as suggesting guidelines
to SAARC on right to information legislation in the Commonwealth
South Asia region.