ACHPR defers ruling on AIPPA

BANJUL - The African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) has deferred to the next session a Communication filed jointly by the Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) chal

lenging the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
This follows a request by the government of Zimbabwe to the Commission which is currently in session at its headquarters in Banjul, the Gambia, to defer the matter so as to allow consultations between itself and MISA-Zimbabwe to proceed in a harmonious manner. The government also argued that the deferment “will aid in the confidence building necessary for the consultative process.”
Margaret Chiduku, Director of Policy and Legal Research in the Ministry of Justice advised the Commission of a model Access to Information Bill which was submitted by MISA-Zimbabwe to the government and Parliament of Zimbabwe copies of which were availed to the Commissioners. She confirmed that the government had accepted the model “in good faith”.
Asked by the Commission whether the draft by MISA-Zimbabwe was the official draft that the government will be working on as the basis for negotiations, Chiduku confirmed that it was.
Appearing on behalf of both IJAZ and MISA-Zimbabwe, Legal Officer Wilbert Mandinde expressed concern that the government request for deferment might be a ploy to buy time. MISA-Zimbabwe, requested an assurance that should the matter be postponed and nothing happened between now and the next session, the Commission would proceed to deal with the matter during its 41st session in 2007. – MISA

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