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Closed Enforcement of the Human Right of Access to Information in Bavaria/Germany

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FOI, Access to information, Freedom of information, Right to know

W. Keim from W. KeimWrite a message

Enforcement of the Human Right of Access to Information in Bavaria/Germany

The Council of Europe and UN secure access to information in conventions. Domestic juridical/administrative remedies have to be exhausted first. Afterwards it is possible to complain to international bodies. In 5 German states a general access to information law is missing. The X. Baltic Sea NGO Forum examined the "The role of international lawmakers and their respective influence on national legislation on access to information" and suggested juridical remedies. Therefore a complaint against Bavaria was filed 14. July 2012. The appeal was denied 14. February 2014. Therefore a constitutional complaint is necessary.

Juridical remedies

Germany ratified International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and European Convention for Human Rights (ECHR). According to Article 46 ECHR Germany is bound by decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Domestic juridical/administrative remedies must be exhausted in order to complain to the UN Human Rights Committee [5] and the European Court of Human Rights [6].


Conventions of UN and Council of Europe

Access to documents of public administration is a human right according to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) [1, 4, 5] and jurisdiction [6] of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the basis of the European Convention for Human Rights (ECHR) [2] and is seen as a precondition for democracy and important in the fight of corruption.

UN, OSCE and AOS confirm in their Joint Declaration by the Three Special Mandates for Protecting Freedom of Expression 6. December 2004, that Access to Information is a human right: [3]:

„The right to access information held by public authorities is a fundamental human right which should be given effect at the national level through comprehensive legislation (for example Freedom of Information Acts) based on the principle of maximum disclosure, establishing a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions."

The "General Comment No. 34 on Article 19 of the ICCPR" says [4]:

"18. Article 19, paragraph 2 embraces a general right of access to information held by public bodies. Such information includes all records held by a public body, regardless of the form in which the information is stored, its source and the date of production."
"19. (...) States parties should also enact the necessary procedures, whereby one may gain access to information, such as by means of freedom of information legislation."

See: http://home.broadpark.no/~wkeim/files/enforce_access_to_information.html

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