10.10.2017 - UNESCO Office in Juba

South Sudan marks International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI)

In commemoration of the International Day of Universal Access to Information (IDUAI), UNESCO with support from SIDA conducted a workshop to familiarise South Sudan government Public Relation Officers, media practitioners and representatives of civil society organisations with South Sudan’s Right to Access Information Act, 2013. The workshop was organized in partnership with South Sudan Information Commission, South Sudan Network for Democracy and Elections (SSuNDE), UNMISS Human Rights Division and the National Editors Forum.

The purpose of the two days events to popularize South Sudan’s  is Access to Information Act, 2013 and enhance shared understanding of citizen’s rights to access information and to increase awareness on the International Day for Universal Access to Information. The workshop took place from 27-28 September 2017 at Nile Fortune in Juba.

South Sudan’s Information Commissioner, Nicodemus Ajak Bior said lack of public relations offices at various government institutions is hindering access to information to the public and more especially to journalists, humanitarian actors and researchers. “Our journalists and researchers have experienced frustration when requesting public information because in our government there are no personnel designated to handle enquiries and provide information when requested. The commissioner urged the government to fast track the process of recruiting the government Public Information Officers as stipulated in the law.

During his presentation on “Opportunities to promote right to access information in South Sudan” UNMISS Senior Human Rights Officer, Christian Stephane Mikala noted that access to government-held information allows individuals to better understand the role of government and the decisions being made on their behalf. This can result on building trust and confidence, reconciliation and peacebuilding, transition to a democratic society.

Acknowledging the importance of access to information and transparency, UNESCO representative to South Sudan, Sardar Umar Alam calls the government of South Sudan and all development partners to leverage the power of Information and Communication Technologies to help to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies. IDUAI is also an occasion to highlight the importance of freedom of expression and safety of journalists as media plays a critical role in facilitating access to information to citizens.

Since 2016 UNESCO marks 28 September as the “International Day for Universal Access to Information” (IDUAI), following the adoption of a resolution (38 C/70) declaring 28 September of every year as International Day for Universal Access to Information (IDUAI). 

IDUAI has particular relevance with the new 2030 Development Agenda, and in particular, with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 16.10  which calls for ensuring public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms.

More about the International Day for Universal Access to Information

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