Knowledge will forever govern
ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm
themselves with the power knowledge gives.
A popular government without popular information or the means of
acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy or perhaps
auf Deutsch über gleiches Thema: http://wkeim.bplaced.net/files/130105aa.html
Walter Keim, Email: email@example.com
Torshaugv. 2 C
N-7020 Trondheim, 31. March 2013
Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland,
Council of Europe
Avenue de l'Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex
Copy: Commissioner of Human Rights CoE, EU Commission, President of
Federal Republic of Germany, President of Bundestag Lammert, Chancellor
What can be done to improve the human right of access to public
documents, transparency and fight against corruption in Germany?
Dear Mr. Jagland,
EU, PACE, CoE
Commissioner for Human Rights, ECHR, OSCE
and UN HRC did not help. Therefore I would
like to draw your attention to access to public information (ATI) in
- German authorities (government, parliaments,
courts) abuse national sovereignty e. g. to deny
citizens in 5 Germany federal states the human right of access to public
documents. Transparency and fight of corruption does not follow
international standards [A]
- EU does not observe the problem but refers to CoEs "well
established mechanisms" [B].
The CoE Human Rights Commissioner took notice.
- However GRECO failed to observe the problem of Freedom of Information
laws in 5 federal states in the of the Second Evaluation Round (report
RC-II (2007) 3E) [C].
- The CoE Human Rights Commissioner was asked
to take up this problem, but did not mention it in his report [D, E].
ECHR does not recognize ATI as human right for citizens only for the
press, NGOs and "watchdogs".
- PACE did not answer a petition on the
- UN HRC praises (the not existing) high human right standards in EU and
ignored a CCPR submission about the lack
of the human right if access to information in Germany
Therefore it is necessary that CoE supports ATI in Germany using its
human right of access to public documents (International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, European
Covention of Human Rights) is recognized as precondition for
democracy and essential in the fight against corruption.
10 years ago development showed (Appendix G: Will
Germany abandon Freedom of Information? Appendix H: Banana
Republic Germany), that Germany was least developed in Europe.
Many petitions and complaints to German
authorities (government, administration, parliaments,
2001 to 2012 did not help [A].
Now many countries outside Europe are more advanced then Germany looking at
freedom of information, transparency and fight of corruption.
concludes 29. December 2011 in report Greco RC-III (2011) 9E that Germany
has implemented or satisfactorily dealt with only four of the twenty
recommendations contained in the Third Round Evaluation Report
(Appendix 3). Germany reported 29. June 2012 at the latest that no progress
was made. Therefore GRECO submitted 28. Nov. 2012 the Non-Compliance Greco
RC-III (2012) 15E.
- 88 states with approx. 5.5
billion inhabitants give better access to information then the
federal Freedom of Information Law in Germany (http://www.rti-rating.org/country-data/).
- More than 120 states (http://right2info.org/laws)
with more then 5.9 billion inhabitants
adopted FOI laws or provisions in constitutions. 5 German states with
half of the population lack FOI laws.
- The UN
Convention against Corruption is ratified by more than 160 states
with more then 6,5 billion inhabitants, but not by Germany.
- Germany did not ratify the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and
does not follow Recommendation Rec(2003)4 on common rules against
corruption in the funding of political parties and electoral campaigns
of the Council of Europe as GRECO (Group of States against Corruption)
Germany's answer 29.
December 2011 and 29. June 2012 shows that no progress has been
made. GRECO submitted 28. Nov. 2012 a Non-Compliance report.
- Germany is the only state in Europe which has not ratified any of
these to conventions against corruption.
Germany has to improve the federal FOI law, adopt FOI laws in 5 federal
states (Bundesländer), ratify CoE and UN conventions against corruption and
improve transparency of sideline jobs for members of parliaments and funding
of political parties to catch up with other states in Baltic Sea, Europe,
America, OSCE, OECD and WTO (see weakness no. 2, 3, 4, 8, 34, 35 and 52 of
National Integrity Report by Transparency
The documentation that access to public documents is a human right has
OSCE and AOS Special Mandates for Protecting Freedom of Expression
confirmed in Joint Declaration of 6. December 2004,
that access to information is a human right: (Appendix
"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
The federal FOI law violates the principle
of maximum disclosure. 5 federal states violate the human
right of access to public documents. i. e. no FOI law is adopted.
The "General Comment No. 34 on Article 19 of the Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights (ICCPR)" confirms
Article 19, paragraph 2 embraces a general right of access to
information held by public bodies. Such information includes all records
held by a public body, regardless of the form in which the information
is stored, its source and the date of production."
"19. (...) States parties should also enact the
necessary procedures, whereby one may gain access to information, such
as by means of freedom of information legislation."
The UN Human Rights Committee decided that the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Article 19 (3)
recognizes the right of individuals and the media to receive state-held
information without requiring a demonstration of direct interest
The European Court of Human Rights recognizes the human right of access
to public documents (Appendix
The CoE Human Rights Commissioner suggested to educate administration and
judges in international law and human rights (Appendix
E). The refusal to give access to the reason of Bavaria not to follow
these suggestions (Appendix
F), shows that this suggestion is important.
In the context of the 106th
CCPR session HRC (Human Right
Committee) did not observe that the human right of access to public
documents is violated in Germany
"Parlamentwatch" offers a possibility to ask questions to members of
parliament. Unfortunately only a minority of the political parties in the
federal parliament and federal states were willing to strengthen
transparency and anti-corruption (Appendix
Germany is the only country ignoring the demand of the first Baltic Sea NGO
Forum to adopt the human right of access to public documents (Appendix
Germany violates international human right standards. I ask you to help
Germany to catch up with transparency and anti-corruption norms in the other
Commissioner for home affairs (EU
COM(2011) 308: Fighting
Corruption in the EU), OSCE,
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), German
Institute for Human Rights, Menschenrechtszentrum, BMJ, Lehrstuhl
für Menschenrechtsbildung, Menschenrechtsbeauftragter
der Bundesregierung, Ausschuss
Menschenrechte und Humanitäre Hilfe,
Published on Internet:
- Many petitions and complaints to Germany
authorities (government, administration, parliaments,
2001 to 2012 did not help: http://wkeim.bplaced.net/files/foi-de.htm
- 1. September 2012: EU does not Support the Human Right of Access to
Public Documents in member states. http://wkeim.bplaced.net/files/foi-eu.htm
August 2012: GRECO
failed in Second Evaluation Round and must therefore do better in
Third Round : http://wkeim.bplaced.net/files/foi-greco.htm
July 2007, CommDH(2007)14: REPORT BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN
RIGHTS MR THOMAS HAMMARBERG ON HIS VISIT TO GERMANY 9. – 11. and 15.
– 20. October 2006:
- Result of report of Commissioner of Human
- Petition to PACE: Access to Information and other Violations of Human
Rights in Germany: http://wkeim.bplaced.net/files/pace-complaint.htm.
No answer: http://wkeim.bplaced.net/files/pace1202.htm
- 13. December 2011: Application to access documents telling why
suggestions of Commissioner of Human Rights are refused: http://wkeim.bplaced.net/files/ifg-einsicht.htm
- heise.de: Verabschiedet
Deutschland vom Informationsfreiheitsgesetz? http://www.heise.de/tp/deutsch/special/frei/12314/1.html
- heise.de: Bananenrepublik
- 21. December 2004: Joint Declaration by the Three Special Mandates for
Protecting Freedom of Expression UN, OSCE and OAS: http://merlin.obs.coe.int/iris/2005/2/article1
- "General Comment No. 34 on Article 19 of the Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights (ICCPR)": http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/comments.htm
- January 2012, Transparency Germany: - 84 weaknesses in the fight
against corruption (conventions against Corruption to be ratified,
improve FOI laws): http://www.gp-f.com/en/ak.php#231
- UN Human Rights Committee decisions: http://right2info.org/cases#section-6
- The European Court of Human Rights cases according to Article 10 of ECHR: http://right2info.org/cases#section-2
- 24. April 2012: X. Baltic Sea
NGO Forum. The role of international
lawmakers and their respective influence on national legislation on
information access (pdf)
- 15. February 2012: Will political parties strengthen transparency and
July 2012: Enforcement of
the Human Right of Access to Information in Bavaria/Germany
since 4. January 2012
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