ICHR, AMAN and PSCP call on the Prime Minister to release agreement on renewal of Paltel and Jawwal licences

Ramallah - On 25 January 2017, the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR), Coalition for Accountability and Integrity (AMAN) and Palestinian Society for Consumer Protection (PSCP) demanded that the Palestinian government release the agreement on the renewal of licences of the Palestine Telecommunications Company (Paltel) and Palestine Cellular Telecommunications Company (Jawwal) along with relevant annexes for public access. With a total cost of US$ 290 million, the agreement extends for a term of 20 years as of 16 November 2016.

Based on citizens’ right of access to information, the ICHR, AMAN and PSCP sent a letter regarding the agreement to Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah. The right of access to information is enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the State of Palestine ratified. The right of access to information is also safeguarded by Article 94 of the Palestinian Amended Basic Law of 2003, which regulates the rules and procedures for granting privileges or imposing obligations related to the utilisation of natural resources and public facilities.

In the letter they sent to the Prime Ministers, the ICHR, AMAN and PSCP stated: “We are of the view that the Palestinian government ought to publish and disseminate all the agreements and annexes relating to the utilisation of natural resources and public facilities.” The letter makes clear that publication does not only involve telecommunications, but also extends to water, electricity and all that concerns natural resources and public facilities. In addition to consolidating the principles of transparency and good governance, public access ensures that a lack of widely disseminated information does not turn into an applicable approach within the public sector.

 

25 January 2017