Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, May 25, 2007

Attacks on Iraqi journalists condemned by UNESCO chief

A total of 177 journalists and media personnel have been killed in Iraq since March 2003 in addition to thirteen ongoing hostage situations, according to Reporters without Borders. Ali Khalil, a 22 year old journalist, was abducted and later found dead on May 20. Speculation surrounds the death but is more than likely a response to a series of reports by Khalil in which parliamentarians were quoted calling for the ‘physical elimination of members of armed groups’. Witnesses report seeing Khalil abducted by masked gunman shortly after leaving family residence.

In response to the killing of Ali Khalil and the subsequent kidnapping of Salam Duhi al-Sudani, Secretary-General Koichiro Matsuura (UNESCO) condemned increased attacks on journalists and, more symbolically, the repression of the right to free expression that is such a vital component of establishing an effective and stable government.

"I condemn the murder of Ali Khalil, and the abduction of Salam Duhi al-Sudani," the Director-General said. "The killing of Iraqi journalists must be stopped. We can but admire the courage and steadfastness of these dedicated professionals in carrying out work that is essential for informed debate, the very premise of democracy and rule of law. At the same time, I can but be appalled by the heavy toll these Iraqi women and men have been paying for exercising the basic human right of freedom of expression."

For the full article, click here.

For the full statement released by UNESCO, click here.



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