Contra Nocendi Cameroon and Contra Nocendi International recently submitted a joint letter to the African Commission's Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Information in Africa. The letter expressed the views of the organization on the Draft Guidelines on Freedom of Information and Elections in Africa. We wish to thank the Special Rapporteur and the Secretariat of the African Commission for facilitating the public consultation on this Draft Guidelines.
The Guidelines, once adopted by the Commission, will be a much needed step forward the protection of the right to information and the independence of electoral processes in Africa. The Guidelines will bring clarity to the scope of the right to freedom of information during electoral processes in Africa. Its adoption will represent a positive development for the advancement of human rights in Africa, and would be timely with important elections coming up in various African countries in 2017 and 2018.
The access to information about candidates, the electoral process, and how the public can engage in it, is all vital to a free and fair election. It is also important that information is provided in a manner that appreciates the use of the internet, and in particular the widespread use of mobile phones to access the internet. Allowing the free flow of information regarding the electoral process is a positive reflection on any government, and illustrates its commitments to the people, to promote their right to participate in the political process. Further to these, Contra Nocendi International is also providing support and training for civil society organizations wishing to observe their domestic electoral processes.
We, at Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon, felt compelled to express our views and to do so in a constructive manner that appreciates the need for the freedom of information during an election cycle, while also having due consideration for the complexities of undertaking the organization of elections. We hope that the Special Rapporteur will find our views helpful, and will also avail herself of our ready assistance, as we have further communicated our readiness to offer any additional assistance if required.
We look forward to seeing the final draft that is submitted to the African Commission.