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ARTICLE 19 REPORT HIGHLIGHTS ACCESS TO INFORMATION IN POST-CONFLICT SOCIETIES

Access to comprehensive and accurate information increases people's sense of safety while the lack of reliable information fuels insecurity, an ARTICLE 19 report on post-conflict societies has found.

"A Survey of Access to Information in Abkhazia and its Impact on People's Lives" highlights why citizens need access to information in post-conflict societies such as Abkhazia, an unrecognised state that broke away from Georgia in a war in the early 1990s and has suffered from great isolation for more than a decade.

In particular, people from remote areas felt that a lack of information and opportunities to communicate constitute a serious obstacle to fulfilling their everyday needs, such as their health and economic development. For example, without the latest knowledge on illnesses such as HIV/AIDS or infant care, the quality of services that health workers are able to provide to their patients is greatly reduced and people don't have the necessary information to take appropriate precautions.

The report, based on interviews with Abkhazian civil society activists, journalists, officials and the public, looks at how the availability or lack of information affects human rights, security, the quality of public services and prospects for development. The report also recommends that local officials, media, NGOs and international donors facilitate the right to know through greater transparency and people-centred decision-making.

The report, launched in Abkhazia's capital Sukhum/i yesterday, will be followed by training sessions with civil society, journalists and officials in different regions of Abkhazia.

Download the report at: http://tinyurl.com/2l93wn

(17 July 2007)

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