Transparency International (TI) is concerned by the politicised appointment of the three commissioners set to lead Honduras’ Access to Public Information Institute and strongly supports monitoring their performance in regulating access to public information, as planned by the Committee for Free Expression (C-LIBRE), Alianza 72 and other civil society organisations.
“It is unfortunate that the Honduran congress was not able to set aside political disputes in making a key decision such as this appointment. It is also discouraging that doubts have arisen in regards to the commissioners’ backgrounds and consequently about their commitment to transparency,” said Manfredo Marroquín, TI’s Regional Coordinator for Central America.
The media, the private sector, public institutions and the international community in Honduras should also closely follow the implementation of access to public information. This would allow the recently approved transparency law to become a useful anti-corruption tool in spite of its weaknesses.
The three commissioners’ main responsibility is promoting and facilitating citizens’ access to public information, as well as regulating and overseeing the procedures established by public institutions for responding to citizen demands for information. Although the commissioners selected were expected to broadly represent Honduran society, with this appointment congress has given a higher priority to the interests of political parties.
“We hope the commissioners understand the importance of this law for Honduran society and that their performance responds to the citizens’ call for transparent, competent and accountable institutions and not to the interests of the political parties who backed their appointment,” added Marroquín from Tegucigalpa, where he will participate in a press conference today with C-Libre.
Honduras is one of the countries in Latin America with the highest level of perceived domestic corruption according to TI’s Corruption Perception Index 2006. The country ratified the Inter-American Convention against Corruption in 1998 and has qualified for foreign aid based on its anti-corruption efforts. Such efforts are at risk if the right to access public information is not guaranteed.
For any press enquiries please contact
Manfredo Marroquín, Regional Coordinator for Central America
T: Honduras: C-Libre: +504 239-8246
T: Guatemala: +502 23317566
Andrés Hernández, Americas Department
T: +49-30-34 38 20 674