[govinfo] Americas Region Finding and Plan of Action for Right to Information

  • From: "Neuman, Laura" <lneuman@xxxxxxxxx>
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  • Date: Thu, 21 May 2009 16:06:59 -0400


Please see Americas Regional Findings and Plan of Action attached.


Plan of Action to Advance the Right of Access to
Public Information in the Americas Released Today

May 21, 2009


Contact: Laura Neuman, 404-420-5146 or lneuman@xxxxxxxxx

Atlanta . . . Participants in a conference on the right of access to 
information released today their findings and plan of action to advance the 
right in the Americas. The Americas Regional Plan of Action provides a 
blueprint for the regional and international community, states and non-state 
actors to establish, develop, and nurture the right of access to information in 
the Americas and calls on them to commit to the plan in furtherance of our 
common objective.
The regional document serves as an annex to last year's global Atlanta 
Declaration and Plan of Action and is available at 

The conference was held April 28-30, 2009, in Lima, Peru, and was organized by 
The Carter Center in collaboration with the Organization of American States, 
the Andean Jurists Commission, and the Knight Center for Journalism in the 
Americas. More than 115 representatives from government, civil society, media, 
private sector, regional intergovernmental organizations, international and 
regional financial institutions, and donors from 18 countries in the region 
came together to consider the main obstacles and potential solutions to advance 
the right of access to information in the Americas.

Participants found that the greatest challenges to the right of access to 
information in the Americas are a lack of implementation and enforcement, 
backsliding in the more developed systems, and an absence of widespread use of 
the existing legislation and mechanisms, and that the diversity of the region 
necessitates diversity in responses.

The group also agreed that states have a special obligation to disclose 
information pertaining to human rights violations or corruption. This is all 
the more important in the Americas regional context of past state-sponsored or 
approved human rights violations and the more recent "global war on terror," 
whereby systematic torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment 
has 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. President Carter was in Peru as part of a trip to four Latin American 
countries also including Ecuador, Bolivia, and Brazil, where he met with the 
heads of state and urged them to establish and implement access to information 

To read the full Americas Regional Findings and Plan of Action and the Atlanta 
Declaration for the Advancement of the Right of Access to Information, please 
go to 

A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to 
improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; 
advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing 
diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing 
nations to increase crop production. The Center has observed over 70 elections 
in nearly 30 countries. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. 
President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory 
University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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