UNMISS Supports Transparency and Accountability through Right to Information
Journalists, civil society groups and national bodies responsible for scrutinizing public institutions have come together to discuss the challenges created by limited access to information in conflict-affected South Sudan.
A workshop was hosted by the South Sudan Access to Information Commission with the support of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan’s Rule of Law Advisory Section and UNESCO. The aim was to develop a strategic plan to enhance the right of the people of South Sudan to information.
Under South Sudanese law, access to information is a fundamental right and is recognized as a vital tool to prevent and fight corruption by increasing transparency, accountability and the public’s trust in national institutions. However, this law is not always respected or adequately enforced.
At the workshop, the 30 participants actively discussed opportunities and challenges in implementing the Right to Access to Information Act and identified ways to increase awareness of the Commission’s work. Those who attended included representatives from a number of independent oversight institutions, like the Anti-Corruption Commission, the National Audit Chamber, the Public Grievances Chamber, the Human Rights Commission and various Parliamentary Committees
Speaking at the workshop, the South Sudan Commissioner for Access to Information, Hon. Nicodemus Ajak Bior, stressed the importance of effective access to information to enable vigorous engagement of the people in public affairs and decision-making. He promised to incorporate recommendations made by the participants into the Commission’s strategic plan which will then be shared for wider consultation.