CHRI demands greater transparency of Sri Lanka's RTI bill

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative called on the Sri Lankan government to make public its impending Right to Information bill and said that Sri Lankan citizens should have a say in drafting the country's first access to information legislation.

In a joint letter to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe of Sri Lanka, Wajahat Habibullah, Chairperson of CHRI, and Maja Daruwala, Director of the international NGO, said, "We urge you to take steps immediately to open up a consultative process through which Parliament may receive comments and suggestions from the people about what they would like to see improved in the Bill."

"Transparency requires transparency," Ms. Daruwala added.

In a separate letter to Sri Lankan Attorney General Jayantha Chandrasiri Jayasuriya, Mr Habibulllah reiterated the call for public inclusion in drafting the country's RTI laws. Mr. Habibullah who served as the first Chief Information Commissioner in India and guided the implementation of India's RTI Bill from 2005-2010 said, "The reason why the RTI Act continues to be one of the most popular laws in India is because citizens, civil society groups, academics and the media were closely involved in the crafting of this law..."