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The need to ensure free access to historical documents

Motion for a resolution | Doc. 15413 | 01 December 2021

Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Latvia, SOC ; Ms Thorhildur Sunna ÆVARSDÓTTIR, Iceland, SOC ; Ms Laima Liucija ANDRIKIENĖ, Lithuania, EPP/CD ; Ms Krista BAUMANE, Latvia, ALDE ; Ms Petra BAYR, Austria, SOC ; Mr Uldis BUDRIĶIS, Latvia, EPP/CD ; Mr Titus CORLĂŢEAN, Romania, SOC ; Mr Constantinos EFSTATHIOU, Cyprus, SOC ; Mr Pierre-Alain FRIDEZ, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Antonio GUTIÉRREZ LIMONES, Spain, SOC ; Mr Domagoj HAJDUKOVIĆ, Croatia, SOC ; Mr Kimmo KILJUNEN, Finland, SOC ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Ms Inese LĪBIŅA-EGNERE, Latvia, EPP/CD ; Mr Jacques MAIRE, France, ALDE ; Mr Andreas NICK, Germany, EPP/CD ; Mr Aleksander POCIEJ, Poland, EPP/CD ; Ms Tabea RÖSSNER, Germany, SOC ; Mr Stefan SCHENNACH, Austria, SOC ; Ms Ingjerd SCHOU, Norway, EPP/CD ; Mr Frank SCHWABE, Germany, SOC ; Mr Davor Ivo STIER, Croatia, EPP/CD ; Ms Nicole TRISSE, France, ALDE

In June 2013, a broad assembly of experts from international organisations, civil society and academic centres adopted the “Global Principles on National Security and the Right to Information” designed to give guidance to legislators and relevant officials with a view to reaching an appropriate balance between public interests both in national security and in access to information. The Parliamentary Assembly, in its Resolution 1954 (2013) and Recommendation 2024 (2013) “National security and access to information”, strongly supported these principles.

Nevertheless, several member States still restrict free access of researchers and civil society to information, in particular, with regard to access to historical documents and archives related to the periods of authoritarian rule or dictatorship. Reference to national security considerations, as well as protection of personal life, are groundlessly used to justify the restriction of access.

Full clarification of the tragedies of the past is necessary to avoid repetition of these tragedies.

Therefore, the Assembly should decide to study the situation in the member States with regard to access to historical documents with a view to preparing relevant practical recommendations.