An interview with Mr. Sarwar Jawadi, member of the National Assembly of Afghanistan about access to information importance in the current situation.
By Ismail Zaki
Mr. Jawadi, thanks you very much for this interview. In your opinion what is the importance of access to information for the Afghan citizens?
Answer: Thank you very much for the interviewing me. To my understanding access to information is a recognized human rights issue. The Afghan constitution confirms access to information as a fundamental right to each citizen. If the Afghan people don’t have access to information about main programs, policies and plans of the government, then the confidence between citizens and the state breaks down. The luck of confidence between citizens and state badly damages the legitimacy of the Afghan state and creates instability and disorder in the society. Such a bad mechanism may have negative consequences in the filed of political, economic, social and cultural affaires of each citizen in Afghanistan.
Question: In your opinion how does access to information affect the policy making procedures of the Afghan government?
Answer: Look, when the information is provided to citizens it creates transparent communication of population with the government, so the civil society, media, lawyers and researchers can play an important role to convey the message of people to the government. I believe in such a situation the government can make proper and realistic policies.
Question: As you said access to information is one of the fundamental rights of citizens recognized by the Afghan constitution. What did the Afghan National Assembly do concerning access to information promotion?
Answer: According to the law the Afghan parliament can do two things; the first one is to advocate for access to information. In this regard we could approve the media law as a positive tool for access to information implementation in Afghanistan. Meanwhile the National Assembly approved a law concerning defense advocate. According to this law Afghans can have access to legal information through their advocates during the trial.
The next element is the parliament role on monitoring of the works of government about access to information, but unfortunately the Afghan parliament did not have good result in this regard.
Question: Which kind if mechanisms should be used to organize an access to information law in Afghanistan ?
Answer: The civil society and media can do a lot of endeavors relating to access to information law. The Afghan civil society as a bridge between citizens and state and the Afghan media as a information source can work together to support access to information legalization.
Question: As you know CSHRN works for drafting the access to information law. What do you think what are the main challenges to wards approval of access to information law?
Answer: I think they don’t have any legal and theoretical problems, but we have some practical problems. There are still a lot of obstacles from the Afghan government through law making process. I hope we can tackle it properly all together.
Dear Mr. Jawadi thank you very much for this interesting interview