“We urge the Iraqi authorities to take all necessary measures – through developing legislation, capacity building and adequate resources – to ensure that investigations and trials relating to crime against journalists in Iraq are undertaken”, declared UNESCO Representative to Iraq Axel Plathe (pictured), Human Rights Commissioner Athmar al Shatry and Iraqi Journalists Syndicate President Moaid Al-Lami in a joint statement on the occasion of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists that is being observed worldwide today, 2 November.
“The near complete impunity for the perpetrators of crimes against journalists goes against everything that we stand for, our shared value and our common objectives”, state the three organizations.
In Iraq, the safety situation of journalist remains dramatic with an unacceptably high number of attacks against journalists and continuous impunity of those acts with more than 100 cases of assassinations of journalists not thoroughly investigated.
UNESCO, the High Commission of Human Rights for Iraq (HRCI) and the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate (IJS) have undertaken a variety of initiatives to address the issue of safety of journalists over the past years within the framework of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
For example, UNESCO and IJS signed a project agreement for enhancing Iraqi journalists’ capacities in conflict-sensitive reporting. UNESCO, in cooperation with a local NGO, is developing a journalists’ safety index in Iraq. As part of its International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), UNESCO also held three workshops on investigative writing and reporting.