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Government dragged to Court for concealing information about radiotherapy machines

websitePress Release

For immediate release

November 4th, 2016

Kampala – Uganda. On October 18th, 2016, the Center for Health Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) filed two cases against the Attorney General of Uganda in its representative capacity for Uganda Cancer Institute and Uganda Atomic Energy Council challenging their refusal to grant access to information requests made for access to public information.

CEHURD filed two access to information requests to Uganda Atomic Energy Council requesting to be granted access to copies of licenses and inspection reports relating to radiotherapy equipment at Uganda Cancer Institute. CEHURD also filed four access to information requests to the Uganda Cancer Institute requesting for access to information regarding how many patients had been affected by the breakdown of the radio therapy machine, the alternatives available for treatment of patients affected by the breakdown of the radiotherapy machine and the licenses which have been received by the Institute in relation to radiotherapy equipment. Both the Uganda Cancer Institute and the Uganda Atomic Energy Council have refused to provide the information requested.

The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda under Article 41 provides for the right to access information in possession of a public body when it states that “Every citizen has a right of access to information in the possession of the State or any other organ or agency of the State except where the release of the information is likely to prejudice the security or sovereignty of the State or interfere with the right to the privacy of any other person.”

The Access to Information Act, 2005 also provides under Section 16 that an information officer to whom a request for access is made should as soon as reasonably possible, but in any event, within twenty one days after the request is received, determine in accordance with this Act, whether to grant the request and notify the person requesting the access of the decision to grant or not to grant access to the information requested.

“Uganda Atomic Energy Council and Uganda Cancer Institute both have a constitutional and statutory duties to provide access to information which is in their possession when any member of the public requests for it in accordance with the law. Having failed in their obligation to provide such information, they left CEHURD with no option other than to seek courts intervention.” – Epongu Edmond – Program Officer at CEHURD.

Information is power that can be wielded for and against the public depending on who controls the information and who is allowed to access it. UAEC and UCI can protect and empower society by making such information available to their website and to all persons desiring to access it at any time even if with costs for accessing it.

The judiciary has been called upon to compel UAEC and UCI to provide access to the documents requested because the constitution protects the right of Ugandans to access the information.

For more information contact info@cehurd.org, or call +256-414-532283, or  Epongu Edmond on epongu@cehurd.org

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