Transparency Maldives organized a symposium on Right to Information with international speakers and panelists as part of a project funded by UNDEF in partnership with UNDP Maldives on 23 October 2012. The specific objectives of the symposium were to: promote RTI as a tool to advance democracy; facilitate sharing of experiences and international best practices; and create demand and culture a deeper appreciation for RTI.
The Symposium was attended by President’s Office, state ministers, senior government officials, members of Human Rights Commission, Anti Corruption Commission and Elections Commission, Maldives Police Service, Police Integrity Commission, Prosecutor Generals Office, UNDP, Maldives Post Limited, Maldives Customs Service, Local Government Authority and representatives from the civil society and media.
The closing ceremony was attended by Hon Speaker of Parliament Abdulla Shahid, who made a commitment to contribute to expediting the process of passage of the RTI Bill currently at the Social Affairs Committee of the Parliament.
Team of Experts
International experts from leading organizations on RTI, including the Open Society Justice Initiative (US), Open Democracy Advice Center (South Africa), Center for Law and Democracy (Canada), Central Information Commission of India (former) and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (India).
1. Ms. Sandra Colliver, Senior Legal Officer, Open Society Justice Initiative.
2. Mr. Mukelani Dimba, Deputy Executive Director, Open Democracy Advice Centre, South Africa.
3. Mr. Michael Karanicolas, Legal Officer Centre of Law and Democracy.
4. Mr. Sailesh Gandi, former Information Commissioner, Central Information Commission, India
5. Mr. Venkatesh Nayak, Program Coordinator, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, India
6. Uz. Mohamed Anil, Chairperson, Democracy House, Maldives
Sessions conducted at the symposium
The following sessions were conducted at the symposium.
- Right to Information and Democracy – history of RTI, importance of RTI in democratic governance and history of RTI in Maldives.
- Administering an RTI regime – practical aspect of administering an RTI regime, appeal processes, redress mechanisms, archiving and challenges faced.
- Local governance and RTI – importance of building relationship between democratic participatory governance and the role of RTI in local governance and how it can empower rural and vulnerable communities.
- Proactive Disclosure was the last session and we looked at its features in a good RTI regime and speakers discussed about creating a culture of proactively disclosing information across the state.
- In the closing session the speakers shared Success Stories from across the world.
Transparency Maldives is preparing a report on the symposium, which would include papers from the international speakers on different aspects of RTI, the discussions in the symposium and a list of resources that the participants can access to further their knowledge on RTI. The report will be shared with all the participants and will also be made available to the larger public.