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Parliament ratified Convention on Access to Official Documents

20.05.2020, 15:39
Photo credit: Informator
Photo credit: Informator

The Verkhovna Rada has voted for Bill 320032 "On Ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents", as Dostup do Pravdy reported.

Ratification of the Tromsø Convention has been supported by 305 MPs.

"Ratification of the convention will further enhance transparency of activities of public authorities and human rights standards in Ukraine," the explanatory note read.

Ukraine’s ratification was the tenth, as it is indispensable to enter the Convention into force. Earlier, the document has been ratified by nine countries: Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Moldova, Croatia, Montenegro and Lithuania. Given that the Convention enters into force with the tenth ratification, Ukraine is going to make an historical decision, by launching this major international instrument.

The bill was registered in parliament on January 31.

Ukraine signed the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents in April 2018. However, the vote for ratification was disrupted in the parliament of the previous convocation (the bill did not receive the required number of votes, in particular due to strong opposition from the Radical Party and its leader).

Since September 2019, the Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy of the new parliament has been speaking of necessity to relaunch this ratification.  On January 17, the Council on freedom of speech and protection of journalists affiliated to the president of Ukaine endorsed the ratification

The Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents, or the Tromso Convention (signed in Tromso, Norway), has been opened for signature on 18 June 2009. It shall enter into force after ratification by 10 members states of the Council of Europe.

 The Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents (Tromsø Convention), in particular, guarantees the right of access to official documents held by public authorities, to any person without explaining the reasons and intentions to obtain information, the further use of documents; it establishes a monitoring system to ensure proper and effective implementation of the provisions of the Convention and elaborating the right of access to official documents; contains provisions for taking into account the public interest in the information in the official document and providing the document if that interest outweighs the damage caused by the interests defined by the legislation; establishes an obligation for managing agents to properly handle documents so that they are easily accessible.

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