Vanuatu Institutes RTI; Pledges to Pass Legislation

11 April 2014

The government of the Republic of Vanuatu on April 8 officially launched a right to information policy and again indicated plans to pass an RTI law.

The RTI policy was approved in 2013 and commits the government to release all information to the public, subject to certain exceptions protective of a number of interests such as national security, personal information and privacy, and certain commercial information, according to an announcement by the Ministry of Information & Communications.

According to the announcement:

The policy will be closely followed by an RTI law, which will formalise the policy arrangements to ensure that the Government actively releases information and provides information where it is requested by the public. An appeals process will be established where those requesting information are denied access by Government agencies.

The policy was approved in August 2013 for the South Pacific nation. (See previous report.)

“The move comes after a number of corruption issues culminated in a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Moana Carcasses,” according to a report on Radio Australia.

Prime Minister Moana Carcasses April 8 said, “Vanuatu is again leading the way in promoting human rights.” Carcasses said the RTI policy “is another sign that we are casting aside the vestiges of colonial rule,” as reported in the Daily Post.

“We are saying to the people of Vanuatu that we are open, transparent and accountable and we want the people to have the information that will help them to help us in administering the affairs of the Government to progress this country forward,” he said at a launch event. He also discussed the need for better information management.

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