Monday, April 03, 2006

First Freedom of Information Case to Reach Inter-American Court

The Open Society Justice Initiative reports:

The Open Society Justice Initiative and four other organizations filed a brief this week with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, seeking to establish that the American Convention on Human Rights guarantees a right of access to information held by public bodies.

The case, Marcel Claude Reyes and Others v. Chile, marks the Inter-American Court's first opportunity in its 27-year history to rule on the right of access to government-held information.

The Justice Initiative, joined by four other groups—ARTICLE 19; Libertad de InformaciĆ³n Mexico, AsociaciĆ³n Civil (LIMAC); Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS) of Peru; and Access Info Europe—filed the "friend of the court" brief in support of Claude Reyes and his two co-applicants. The brief, available on our website at, surveys access to information laws and jurisprudence and argues that a fundamental right of people to access information held by their governments has been established internationally and is contained in the American Convention on Human Rights.

Through the brief, the five organizations are asking the Court to rule that the Convention guarantees a general right of citizens to information held by public authorities, and that Chile must improve its access to information law so that requests like the one that initiated this case are honored in the future.

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