25 November 2011

Right to Information in National Security Sector in Timor-Leste



East Timor Legal News 25/11/2011 Source: Fundasaun Mahein Press Release 24/11/2011 Fundasaun Mahein attends Asean Civil Society Consultation on National Security and the Rights to Information Principles.

On November 9-10, 2011, around 60 freedom of information activists, human rights defenders, e-Media activists, advocates, academia and Members of Parliament from 15 countries in Asia met in Jakarta for the Asian Civil Society Consultation on National Security and the Rights to Information Principles. Timor-Leste was represented by both Fundasaun Mahein (FM) & AJTL.

This consultation was jointly organized in Jakarta by Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA), Institute for Defense Security and Defense Studies, Tifa Foundation and Open Society Foundations for the following objectives:

    To explore and highlight the situation of National Security policies and their impact to promote and protect the Right to Information in Asian countries;
  
To provide recommendations on the Asia context and needs regarding the finalization process of the Global Principles on National Security and Right to Information; and,
   
To develop and strengthen an action plan ensuring the promotion and protection of the right to information in the Asian region for all stakeholders (country based civil society organizations, international organizations, national governments and parliaments, as well as the security sectors).

The regional consultation was also participated by Frank La Rue, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, who shared useful global perspectives on the right to information as part of freedom of expression, and his personal expertise.

Background

Recently, there has been increased international interest on how to balance the principle of access to information and the need to protect national security. Over the past years, the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) has been working on a set of international principles that address issues of national security and access to information. The intention is that these principles will serve as a resource for those engaged in drafting or revising classification or related laws and to command the respect of a wide spectrum of stakeholders. A number of consultations have taken place since the initiation of the project and in June 2011, a meeting was held in Budapest, Hungary where the principles were further refined and discussed. The principles will be finalized and launched in 2012.

The meeting allowed Asian stakeholders, especially those from civil society organizations, to provide a regional perspective regarding the political and legal conditions that relate to issues of access to information and national security.

Points of Recommendation

After 2 days of exploration of the national security policies and rights to information protection in Asian countries to examine the Principles, the participants of the Asian regional consultation provided some relevant and important recommendations as below:

1. For the purposes of guaranteeing the human rights and other fundamental rights including the right to information, all government should hold open public consultation and accommodate public inputs in order to develop specific, clear and accountable definition of national security.

2. On clarification of what constitutes a public body or public authority, noted that private companies operating with public funds or performing public services should also be held accountable.

3. On national security and legitimate secrecy, national security should be limited to defending against specific threats to the very existence of the state.

4. Oversight is a necessary function. Multilayer oversight on the implementation of national security and protection of rights to information must be institutionalized, including establishing independent oversight bodies to oversee intelligence agency or national security council.

5. Mechanism of accountability should be put in place for people in charge of classification and declassification of national security information.

6. Authority to declassify national security information should be defined in law, preferable the same level of authority that classified the document. The classified documents must be kept in archives until it is released officially as public documents.

FM would like to add a further two recommendations more specific to Timor-Leste:

7. The government should set up a department of translation whereby all legislation is officially translated into Tetun, allowing easier access and formation of opinions among the general population.

8. The government should push forward significant information campaigns whereby they educate the population at large about the main laws that govern them. In other words, a program of “socialization of the law” is required so as to create greater awareness and understanding of the legal framework in place in Timor-Leste.

As a result of this forum, FM has decided to undertake a specific report relating to the right to information in the national security sector in Timor-Leste. This is due to be published early next year.

For further information feel free to contact FM Executive Director, Nelson Belo by email on nelson@fundasaunmahein.org or by phone on 7374222.
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Fundasaun Mahein, 24 Novembru 2011 Komunikadu Imprenza - Fundasaun Mahein Tuir  Asean Sivil Sosidade Konsultasaun ba Siguransa Nasional no Dereitu ba Asesu Informasaun, iha Jakarta.


Iha Novembru loron 9-10, 2011, ativista ba defende Direitus ema nian ba asesu informasaun hamutuk  60 ne’ebe maka kompostu husi freedom of information activists e-Media, ativista advokasia nian, akademista sira ho membru Parlamentais husi nasaun 15 iha rejiaun Asean nian ne’ebe tuir ona  sorumutu forum Asean iha Jakarta konaba Asian Sivil Sosiedade konsultasaun ba Siguransa Nasional ho Direitus ba Asesu informasaun nian. Husi Timor-Leste reprezenta husi Fundasaun Mahein ho Asosiasaun Jornalista Timor-Leste.

Konsultasaun ida ne’e organiza lesuk iha Jakarta husi FORUM-ASIA, Institute for Defense Security and Defense Studies, Tifa Foundation and Open Society Foundations ba objetivus hirak tuir mai ne’e:

Atu esplora no identifika situasaun konaba politika Siguransa nasional no impaktu promove ba protesaun direitu asesu informasaun iha nasaun sira iha Asia.
   
Atu hari’i no haforsa iha planu estratejiku no hatene lolos halo promosaun no protesaun ba direitu asesu informasaun iha rejiuan Asean no ba nasaun sira ne’ebe iha sosidade sivil nasional ho internasional, governantes ka parlementais ho autor siguransa sira nian halo kna’ar ba.

Lala’ok
Dadaun ne’e, interese internasional atu hasae konaba balansu prinsipal asesu informasaun no persiza ba protesaun siguransa nasional. Liu tinan barak ona, the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI) servisu hodi hari’i prinsipu internasional ne’ebe foka ba isu sira ne’ebe konaba siguransa nasional no asesu informasaun. Ho intensaun katak prinsipu sira ne’e sei serbi no liga ba draft lei no mos halo revizaun klasifikasaun or relasaun konaba lei sira atu komanda ba Stakeholder barak.

Sorumutu iha Jakarta fornese ba  Asian Stakeholders, liu liu ba Organizasaun sivil sosidade sira foti isu konaba situasaun politika no legal nian ne’ebe iha relata ba isu sira.

Pontus  Rekomendasaun

.Depois loron  2 eksplora informasaun konaba prinsipiu no direitu ba protesaun informasaun iha nasaun Asean sira examina prinsipiu sira no partisipante konsultativu hamosu rekomendasaun relevante ne’ebe importante tebes hanesan:

1. Atu garantia direitu ema nian ne’ebe fundamental inklui mos direitu ba informasaun. Husu governante sira atu loke espasu ne’ebe luan ba konsultasaun publiku no input publiku ne’ebe lolos nian konaba siguransa nasional.

2. Mekanismu konaba akauntibilidade tenki tau iha fatin atu nune’e povu iha asesu ba klasifikasaun ka desklasifikasaun asesu informasaun siguransa nasional.

FM hakarak rekomenda pontu importante rua ne’ebe espesifiku ba Timor- Leste:

3.  Governu RDTL tenki hari’i departementu tradusaun ba lei sira ne’ebe ofisial ba iha dalen Tetun atu nune’e habiban jerasaun hotu hotu asesu informasaun  saida deit liu liu informasaun siguransa nasional nian, hodi nune’e fasil ba sira atu fo opinion.

4. Guvernu RDTL tenki sirkula informasaun ida ne’ebe signifikante no halo kampanha ba informasaun iha ne’ebe deit hodi halo edukasaun ba populasaun hotu konaba lei sira ne’ebe governu aplika iha Timor-Leste. 

Rezultadu husi Forum ida ne’e, Fundasaun Mahein sei produz relatoriu ida konaba Dereitu Asesu Informasuan Siguransa Nasional. Relatoriu ne’e sei publika iha semana dahuluk nian, iha Janeiru 2012.

Atu hatene klean liu konaba asuntu ne’e bele kontaktu Nelson Belo, Diretor Fundasaun Mahein ww.fundasaunmahein.org Email: nelson@fundasaunmahein.org Tlp +670 737 4222

Caetano Alves
Outreach Unit
Fundasaun Mahein
mobile: + 670 733 8969
email: atay@fundasaunmahein.org
http://www.fundasaunmahein.org
Rua dalan Balide, Dili, Timor-Leste

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