16.05.2012 - UNESCO Office in Brasilia

UNESCO celebrates the entry into force of the General Law of Access to Information in Brazil

UNESCO celebrates the entry into force today (16 May), of the General Law of Access to Information and congratulates the government, the legislative and executive branches and civil society organizations for their efforts in the pursuit of this achievement. The UNESCO Representative in Brazil, Lucien Muñoz, congratulates President Rousseff and Brazilian society for the new law.

"The law is a further step towards the consolidation of participatory democracy. I hope it is one more element from this movement for the effective realization of the right to information at the core of public administration, strengthening other rights for the Brazilians, "said Lucien Muñoz. The UNESCO Director in Brazil has also stated that the Organization is available for the Brazilian government to contribute, through international cooperation, to public policies that promote the right to information.

Starting today, May 16, 2012, any Brazilian citizen may have access to information from the public power. That is what the General Law of Access to Information in Brazil (Law 12.257/2011) states. The law provides all citizens with rules, deadlines and verification instruments to make access public and unrestricted to information of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial. It also established a Truth Commission, an important step towards guaranteeing the right to memory and truth of the Brazilians.

The right to information protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,  Regional Conventions on Human Rights and the Constitution of 1988, becomes, with the effective implementation of the law, a reality in the day- by-day of the Brazilian State.


The Advisor in Communication and Information for Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and Chile of UNESCO, Guilherme Canela, highlights the challenges for the effective implementation of the law: "The most difficult challenge is to change the culture of secrecy to the culture of access. Now, access is the rule and secrecy the exception. “According to Canela, a second challenge will be the qualification of the civil servants to put the process into practice, as it may require a qualified relationship between State and society.

Guilherme Canela also showed concern for the effective implementation of the law in state and municipal levels and the treatment that the government will provide when archiving such information. "The way this information is archived it is essential for the law to work," he added.

The successful implementation of similar laws, that already exist in around 90 nations, has produced better-informed societies, with human rights further protected with  more transparent, efficient and effective administrations and citizens more aware of their rights and their collective responsibilities.

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