Public Health, Safety and the Environment
The laws of several countries provide, or have been interpreted by courts and/or information commission/ers to provide, that the strong public interest in protecting public health, safety, and the environment or the need to avert imminent harm to persons may outweigh business interests in confidentiality. Several cases are summarized – from Canada, Japan, Scotland, South Africa – in the section on Exceptions: Commercial Secrets: Information Relevant to Public Health, Safety, or the Environment. [not yet posted] See also Scotland: patient privacy and statistical information, under section on Exceptions: Privacy.
On 1 April, 2011 the Inter-American Commission granted precautionary measures to 10 indigenous groups against Brazil. The Commission ordered the State of Brazil to stop the construction of Belo Monte Hydroelectric Plant which was claimed to have devastating influence on the environment and local indigenous groups and to conduct informed consultations with these affected groups and for that purpose to provide to them all the relevant information including impact studies on environment in accessible format and understandable language for them. A summary of the case and recent updates can be found here.