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ANHRI welcomes right to information law

(ANHRI/IFEX) - 26 July 2012 - After a lengthy debate, ANHRI welcomes the passing of a law on the right to obtain information. This is a positive step towards protecting access to information. Yemen is the third Arab country to issue a law that deals with this right. The passing of the said law was delayed because the interim president, Abduraboh Mansour Hadi, objected to some articles of the draft law, and the Yemeni Constitution stipulates that for a law to be enforced it must be ratified by the president.

The new law stipulates that:
- an "Office for the General Commission for Information" will be established and that it shall enjoy the required independence to exercise its work and assign an independent budget that shall be included in the public budget.
- the national information center is granted the power to give people the information they desire at a reasonable cost, without questioning the employee in charge of giving the information. In cases where access to information is denied, the employee shall outline the reasons in writing.
- regarding the principle of protecting privacy, no entity may collect, process, save or use individuals' personal data in violation of the Constitution and laws.

ANHRI stated that "although we have some reservations about the recent amendments, we welcome the passing of the law as it supports Yemeni citizens' right to obtain information and responds to the demands by civil society organizations, journalists and rights advocates".

ANHRI added, "the law facilitates access to information, promotes transparency and the proper use of information, and helps fight against corruption. Furthermore, the law will support media professionals so that they are able to carry out their work more efficiently by relying on accurate information".

ANHRI welcomes the new law as a positive step towards protecting the right to access information and calls on all Arab countries to follow suit and issue a similar law.

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