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Access to information action plan in force in Americas

Free expression advocates in the Americas have some cause to celebrate: access to information laws are now on the books in half of the countries in the region, while in almost all of the rest draft bills are under discussion or are just moments away from being passed into law.

But some countries continue to struggle with implementing the laws, and some are even backsliding. In other countries, access to info laws are rarely used.

To the rescue is the Americas Regional Plan of Action, a blueprint to advance the right of access to information in the Americas, developed at the Americas Regional Conference on the Right of Access to Information in April in Lima, Peru.

More than 115 representatives from government, civil society, media, regional intergovernmental organisations, financial institutions and donors from 18 countries in the region came together to consider the main obstacles and potential solutions to this right.

The group agreed that states have a special obligation to disclose information related to human rights violations or corruption - especially in the Americas, where state-sponsored human rights violations, including those committed under the guise of the"global war on terror," have been "allowed to flourish under the veil of state secrets."

Chairing the final day of the conference, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter reminded those gathered that "access to information can change the landscape of society" as it provides citizens a tool to hold government accountable, improve development, and assure greater security, as well as being a fundamental human right.

The conference was organised by The Carter Center in collaboration with the Organization of American States, the Andean Jurist Commission and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas. The regional document serves as an annex to last year's global Atlanta Declaration and Plan of Action.

Americas Regional Findings and Plan of Action

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