ArmInfo.According to the Ombudsman, the draft law on amendments to the Law "On Freedom of Information" developed by the RA Ministry of Nature Protection contains the risks of unjustified refusal.
Based on the position of the human rights defender, the bill does not reflect the actual content of the provisions of the 1998 Aarhus Convention on the availability of environmental information, public participation in decision- making and access to justice. Thus, in practice, it can lead to an unreasonable refusal to provide environmental information:
The Ombudsman considers it important to guarantee freedom of information in this area and the resulting civilian control over environmental protection. The Office of the Human Rights Defender is studying a draft law in terms of compliance with international standards, the results of which will be presented to the National Assembly.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of the Nature Protection voiced its position, noting that the only goal of the bill is to increase the level of environmental safety, and the ministry does not pursue any other goals. <The proposed change proceeds from the development strategy of environmental education and upbringing, approved by the protocol decision of the Government of February 22, 2018. In addition, it is indicated that the proposed adjustments are established by the Aarhus Convention itself. By the way, these adjustments become even more relevant from the point of view of strengthening the monitoring system in the ministry, as a result of which information, in particular, on rare species of animals and plants will be more complete and coordinated, "the ministry said in a statement.