Title of Presentation : Freedom of Information: An Essential Foundation for the Protection of Other Fundamental Rights

Names of all Presenters : Merit Ulvik, Mate Szabo, Tivadar Huttl, Seeham Saamai, Ramiro Alvarez Ugarte, Macarena Rodrigues, Javier Casas, Olufolahan Adeleke, Meetaali Jain

Short Abstract : Over 80 countries have national laws granting the public the right to request and receive information held by the state. However, the 4.5 billion citizens covered by these laws often find that getting the information they need is a long and difficult process. Frequently, requests go unanswered or are even denied without explanation. Having access to environmental impact assessments, contracts, budgets, expenditure records, and other documentation is essential for groups and individuals trying to monitor government policy, fight corruption, protect the environment, and make sure their rights are being respected. Yet few groups have experts on hand who can navigate the complex bureaucratic process of accessing this information and bringing a legal challenge if it is denied. In freedom of information (FOI) clinics, law students promote social justice through the enforcement of FOI laws. This session will include directors of FOI clinics in Hungary, Argentina, South Africa, Chile, and Peru

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