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IV. Governance issues

Article 74 of the Constitution states that "Every person has a right to access public documents except in cases established by law." The main law regulating the access to public documents is Law No. 57 of July 5, 1985. Its Article 12, for example, grants every person the right to access and consult the documents that are held by the government, and to get a copy of them. However, people cannot consult or take a copy of documents that by law are considered exempted from disclosure (confidential information, medical records or documents that could have an impact on national security). The legal exemption is not effective 30 years after a document has been expedited. After that, the document acquires historical character and can be consulted by any citizen.1

A key principle of the recent General Law of Public Archives2 is entitled "Administration and access." According to this law, the administration of public files is a duty of the State and a right of the citizens to get access to them.

International obligations

Colombia signed the American Convention on Human Rights (the Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica) and the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Colombia also ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).