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Yemen Passes Strongest RTI Law in the Arab World

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On 1 July 2012, Yemen marked a milestone in its transition to democratic government by passing the Law on the Right of Access to Information. An analysis by the Centre for Law and Democracy using its RTI Rating Methodology found that the Law scored 105 points, putting Yemen in a tie for 17th place in the world, alongside Finland and Nepal, and significantly ahead of its counterparts in the Arab world, namely Jordan (which scored 56) and Tunisia (89).

The legislative process was not, however, without difficulties. Parliament originally passed a draft law in April, but Yemen’s President, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, refused to sign it. In response to the concerns raised by the President, the draft was weakened, in particular in its protections for whistleblowers and by removing the limited public interest override.

Click here for a Note on the changes to Yemen’s RTI Law
Click here for an English translation of Yemen’s RTI Law
Click here for the full results of the RTI Rating for Yemen
Click here for an Arabic version of this Press Release

“It would have been preferable if the amendments had not been introduced, but the Law still provides a robust legal framework for the right to information in Yemen,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy. “CLD calls on the Yemeni authorities to engage in a positive way with implementation of the Law, so as to ensure that their citizens really benefit in practice from the right to information.”

CLD hopes that the passage of a strong RTI law by Yemen spurs similar positive action in other Arab countries, particularly Egypt and Morocco, both of which are considering passage of their own right to information laws.

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