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Transparency Database on Document Access and Declassification

Transparency Database on Document Access and Declassification

This database is a registry of rules regarding access to documents of the Council of Europe.

Access to documents at the Council of Europe is managed at several levels. Access rights to documents vary and depend on the internal protocols and working methods of the various bodies and monitoring mechanisms. By centralising this information in one location, this database will enhance transparency about the different rules in force.

The database is open for consultation to everybody. It is managed by the Archives of the Council of Europe in close co-operation with the Organisation’s Network of Archive Correspondents.

Your feedback is welcome; please send any remarks, also concerning specific rules, to archives@coe.int.

Information on where to find Council of Europe documents (online and offline) is presented on the Archives website: www.coe.int/archives.

The term "Transparency" refers to a culture of openness. Open access to public sector documents is central to accountability.

The Council of Europe wishes to make information publicly accessible unless there are reasons not to. There are legitimate reasons for keeping information classified, but the reasons should be made public and information on declassification provided.

Thus, transparency is above all to be clear, open and consistent with regard to the rules that govern access and declassification.

"Transparency of public authorities is a key feature of good governance and an indicator of whether or not a society is genuinely democratic and pluralist, opposed to all forms of corruption, capable of criticising those who govern it, and open to enlightened participation of citizens in matters of public interest. The right of access to official documents is also essential to the self-development of people and to the exercise of fundamental human rights. It also strengthens public authorities’ legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and its confidence in them." Explanatory Report to the Council of Europe Convention on Access to Official Documents (CETS No. 205)