The United Nations in Malawi says it has appreciated Malawi Government’s swift gazetting of the date to operationalize the Access to Information [ ATI] Act from 30th September, 2020.
The UN says the Act represents an important step forward on good governance and human rights after about 17 years of advocacy for the Act by key stakeholders.
The International organization says the operationalization of the law is a significant step towards achieving the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] number 10 of SDG 16 which seeks to ensure public access to information saying with this milestone, Malawi becomes a role model to other countries in the region and beyond.
In a statement released on 14th September, 2020, the UN says the Act will also be essential in the fight against corruption, commending the Whistle –Blower provision in the Act, which protect disclosure of confidential information where it is in the public interest, particularly, where it exposes corruption, abuse of public office and human rights violations.
The UN says it also recognizes the role of the Malawi Human Rights Commission [MHRC] to independently monitor the implementation of the Act and to raise awareness on its effective use.
…….’’Accessing information is a Human Right which means that the ordinary citizens should be able to get information as an entitlement and not as a favor,’’….said the UN Resident Coordinator in Malawi, Maria Jose Torres.The UN has finally called upon the Government to ensure adequate funding for the Malawi Human Rights Commission [MHRC] to be able to fulfill this role of monitoring the implementation of the Act.
By Vincent Gunde