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Walter Keim, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Torshaugv. 2 C
N-7020 Trondheim, 1 June 2005
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Dear Madam Commissioner for Human Rights,
I would like to draw your attention to my letters of 27 February 2004 and 16 August 2004, an individual petition which has not been answered.
Meanwhile more than 60 states have implemented access to public information laws. After Turkey (2003), Switzerland (2004) and Serbia (2004) have adopted laws, Germany (in the federation and 12 of 16 Lander) is the last major country in Europe without the human right of freedom of information.
A Freedom of Information Law has been promised since 1998. However the government did not propose a draft to parliament, because of resistance of bureaucracy. Therefore the parliamentary parties of the coalition proposed their own draft 17 December 2004. According to berlinonline.de the law will not be given, because chancellor Schröder wants new elections in autumn 2005.
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 laws, 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.
According to ARTICLE19 report "Global Trends on the Right to Information: A Survey of South Asia, July 2001", Freedom of Information is widely recognized as human right: http://www.juridicas.unam.mx/publica/rev/comlawj/cont/1/cts/cts3.htm.
The UN, OSCE and AOS confirm in their Joint Declaration of 6 December 2004, that access to public documents is a 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.
The federal parliament was working out its own draft law. However resistance was strong and international standards of the principle of maximum disclosure, and a narrow system of exceptions could not be met up to now. There are too many exceptions and the law will expire after 5 years: A human right on trial. In addition 12 of 16 federal states (Lander) lack freedom of information.
The complaint to UN on the lack of Freedom of Information in Germany of 18. April 2002 was not processed because: "Domestic juridical/administrative remedies do not appear to have exhausted ... or showed that remedies would be ... ineffective." (OHCHR-UNOG G/SO 215/51 GERM ES, 3 June 2002).
Germany joined the International Pact of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which is published in the German law publication: BGBl. 1973 II S. 1534. On the basis of Article 19 of ICCPR on 4. February 2004 I applied at the administrative court for overruling the denial of access in connection with the delay of the petition on Freedom of Information of 21 December 2001:
see case VG 2 A 85.04: Walter Keim vs. Federal Republic of Germany. However the administrative court in Berlin ruled 9. May 2005 not to admit the denial of access to be taken to court. Ignoring the ICCPR totally the court said there is no "legal basis" to ask for access to documents. According to the court the case raises no principle constitutional questions. The administrative court ruled that an appeal is not allowed. The amount of controversy was set to 12 000.- The complaint against the amount of controvercy of 25. April 2005 is rejected by the higher administrative court which can not be appealed. This makes it not affordable for me to complain to the higher administrative court, because the costs would be more than 3000.-.
In 2002 the constitutional court has not given a reason denying to process the complaint 1 BvR 1057/02.
This shows that "Domestic juridical/administrative remedies are ineffective.
Article 2 paragraph 2 and 3 of the ICCPR binds states and gives citizens rights for remedies:
2. Where not already provided for by existing legislative or other measures, each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take the necessary steps, in accordance with its constitutional processes and with the provisions of the present Covenant, to adopt such legislative or other measures as may be necessary to give effect to the rights recognized in the present Covenant.
3. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:
(a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;
Germany violates its obligation to adopt laws and gives no remedies.
Unfortunately there are many more human rights violations in Germany, which are ignored by the authorities, the press and the public. The administrative court approved that my petition of 21 December 2003 on Human Right violations in Germany is not even answered. Germans do not have the right to get a fair justified answer to petitions (1 BvR 1553/90).
I am looking forward to your answer doing your duty in reminding Germany to its obligations due to the ICCPR, so Germany does not continue to violate the human right of freedom of information.
Support freedom of information: http://wkeim.bplaced.net/foi.htm#e-mail, http://wkeim.bplaced.net/files/un-complaint.htm
Who is responsible for the lack of freedom of information: http://wkeim.bplaced.net/I_accuse.htm
Support patients rights: http://wkeim.bplaced.net/patients.htm#e-mail
Copy: CoE, OSCE
Visitor No. since 13. November 2003
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