Recorded letter

Deutsch in auf Deutsch: http://home.broadpark.no/~wkeim/files/060516sa.htm

 

Walter Keim, Email: walter.keim@gmail.com
Torshaugv. 2 C
N-7020 Trondheim, den 16. May 2006


Ministerium für
Gesundheit und Soziales
Turmschanzenstraße 25
D-39114 Magdeburg
Germany




Access to Environmental Information according to Directive 2003/4/EC: Too much Uranium in Mineral Water?   

Madam/Sir,

I ask for access to environmental information:

  1. Which mineral sources in Sachsen-Anhalt have more than 15 micrograms per litre uranium?
  2. Which companies fill water from one of these sources?

according to "DIRECTIVE 2003/4/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information and repealing Council Directive 90/313/EEC" (Appendix 1).

Sachsen-Anhalt has not yet transformed the directive 2003/4/EC. Therefore this directive is direct applicable since 15. February 2006.

I refer to the newspaper of 13. May 2006 "Volksstimme" saying that access is denied ("Berliner Journalist verklagt das Land Sachsen-Anhalt auf Herausgabe von Informationen: Uran im Mineralwasser? Ministerium hält Daten geheim"), written of Winfried Borchert (Appendix 2). The question came up because concentrations up to 71 micrograms per litre uranium reached consumers according to measurements of the Bundesinstituts für Risikoabschätzung ( BfR ). Both Baden-Württemberg and Nordrhein-Westfalen have answered such questions. What does Saxony-Anhalt have to hide? The article says the reason of denying access is that the directive is not followed, i.e. considered not applicable.

The directive 2003/4/EC replaces directive RL 90/313/EWG on free access to environmental information. this law should have been transformed before 31. December 1992. but was first published 15. July 1994. The transformation was too restrictive and used high fees to hinder access. therefore the EU Commission managed to sentence Germany in Case C-217/97. Has Sachsen-Anhalt learned nothing?

The new directive was necessary because of the Aarhus-Convention.

In case Guerra & Others v. Italy of 19 February 1998 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) established that access to environmental information is a human right. Germany has to obey sentences of the ECHR according to Article 46 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

I would like to emphasize that the right to information is part of the right to freedom of expression, which is confirmed by international human rights treaties, specifically by the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights (article 19), and the Universal Declaration of Human rights (article 19), all of them ratified by Germany and incorporated into German law. German states violate this pact.

In the report of the UNHCR-Special Rapporteur, Mr. Abid Hussain, "Promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression", E/CN.4/1998/40, especially Part III. A. The right to seek and receive information, access to information is a precondition for freedom of opinion.

The right to access constitutes a positive obligation according to UN Doc. E/CN.4/1999/64) von 1999:

"[T]he Special Rapporteur expresses again his view, and emphasizes, that everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information and that this imposes a positive obligation on States to ensure access to information, particularly with regard to information held by Government in all types of storage and retrieval systems - including film, microfiche, electronic capacities, video and photographs - subject only to such restrictions as referred to in article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."

This is the background of UN, OSCE and AOS in their joint declaration of 6. December 2004: Access to Information as human right:

The right to access information held by public authorities is a fundamental human right which should be given effect at the national level through comprehensive legislation (for example Freedom of Information Acts) based on the principle of maximum disclosure, establishing a presumption that all information is accessible subject only to a narrow system of exceptions.

This citizens right is found in more then 65 states all over the world, many of which consider it as a basic right based on their constitution.

My Petition of 30. September 2006 to 12 German states was followed up by 2 states (Hamburg 29. March 2006 and Bremen am 11. May 2006) adopting Freedom of information laws. In the state Saarland (Drucksache 13/758) and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (first reading 8. March 2006) laws were proposed. Therefore 8 of 16 states will have freedom of information by the end of 2006. But Sachsen-Anhalt und Saxony (voting against the opposition) were negative, i. e. the majority in parliament does not give a guarantee to be committed to the human right of freedom of information.

I look forward to receive an positive answer without delay.

Sincerely,  

Walter Keim
Who invites the Human rights commissioner to Germany: http://wkeim.bplaced.net/files/coe-031128.htm 
Will OSCE promote Freedom of Information? :
http://wkeim.bplaced.net/files/osce-050106.htm

Copy: Press Council, EU Commission, EU Parliament, EU Council, Council of Europe, OSCE, OECD, PACE und UN

List of appendices:

  1. DIRECTIVE 2003/4/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 28 January 2003 on public access to environmental information and repealing Council Directive 90/313/EEC: http://www.bmu.de/files/pdfs/allgemein/application/pdf/ui_directive.pdf
  2. Volksstimme" vom 13.5.2006 "Berliner Journalist verklagt das Land Sachsen-Anhalt auf Herausgabe von Informationen: Uran im Mineralwasser? Ministerium hält Daten geheim

Answer:

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