Human rights group pushes transparency cause

A leaflet supporting the fight against secrecy in St Helena Government is being published by the island’s human rights body.

It calls for a Freedom of Information (FoI) law to be introduced, just as the topic looks set to become an election issue.

So far only two candidates have confirmed they will stand, but one of them, Ian Rummery, has made it clear that reform is “a must”.

The leaflet says:

Freedom of Information is an extension of freedom of expression, a fundamental human right recognized in international law.

In the UK and several of the overseas territories this right is protected by a freedom of information act or ordinance. The UK act has been dis-applied here on St Helena, and we have no FoI legislation of our own so our right is not protected.

The United Nations and the UK Government both support Freedom of Information as they believe it

  • encourages greater openness and accountability
  • helps increase levels of public trust
  • increases the numbers voting in elections

The leaflet, published by the Human Rights Capacity Building Committee, says open government would build trust, prevent corruption, and encourage more people to vote.

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