Wahidullah Azizi, Integrity Watch Afghanistan
Integrity Watch and Oversight Commission on Access to Information celebrated the world’s best law on the subject on International Day of Universal Access to Information.
Afghanistan’s access to information law, which was passed in March 2018, topped global legislative initiatives on the subject earlier in the year.
The Center for Law and Democracy and Access Info Europe, which assessed and ranked 124 access to information laws, awarded Afghanistan a score of 139 out of 150.
Afghanistan topped the list, followed by Mexico with 136 and Serbia and Sri Lanka with 135 and 131 respectively.
“It is tremendous that Afghanistan has passed such an incredibly strong RTI law,” remarked Toby Mendel, executive director of the Centre for Law and Democracy.
“Although implementation is always a challenge, this law will at least give the country the tools it needs to ensure its citizens can access information from public authorities,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion at the Government Media and Information Centre, Executive Director of Integrity Watch Sayed Ikram Afzali, who also chairs OCAI, hailed the rating as “an achievement” for the people and government of Afghanistan.
“The passing of this law is an example of civil society-government cooperation on a piece of legislation producing world-class results,” he said.
He hoped the new law would expedite access to information for media, the public and civil society. At the international level, it could boost the government’s credibility, Afzali believed.
Second Vice President Sarwar Danish, who participated in the conference as a keynote speaker, commended the role of civil society in advocating for the law.
He renewed the government’s commitment to the implementation of the new access to information law, including the allocation of adequate financial resources.