Day against impunity for crimes against journalists
International International day to end the impunity for crimes committed against journalists - Intervention by Mrs. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 2 November 2017.
“Ending impunity for crimes against journalists: strenghtening implementation and the case of women journalists”, Anne Gueguen, 2 November 2017.
Thank you very much Mrs. Moderator,
I am very honored to represent France at this event that is co-organized by UNESCO and by 19 members of the Group of Friends. As you may know, this international day to end the impunity for crimes against journalists, that we’re celebrating today, was established after the death of two French Journalists Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon in Mali and I want to cease this opportunity to pay tribute to their memory and to reaffirm France’s determination to hold perpetrators of these acts responsible for their crimes.
I really thank all the panelists for their very poignant testimonies and for sharing their views and their concrete initiatives. I have been very impressed by all of them and they all really deserve our full support and encouragement and I really want also to express my personal admiration for your courage and your actions.
The challenge of the safety of journalists, as the speakers have said, including women journalists that is discussed today, remains to be addressed in the most concrete manner and I think here the word to underline is concrete, and as an urgent matter. So I am not going to repeat the figures that have been given, but the death toll for journalists is too high and accountability unfortunately too low.
When a journalist is killed, it is a double crime : it’s a crime against a person. But it’s also a crime against the freedom to inform and be informed. You Madam, quoted Gandhi, I will quote Nelson Mandela who said “ press should be protected, so that it can protect our rights as citizens”. And I really think that here we have a core truth that journalists are really vigilantes for democracy and for human rights.
And, France, together with its partners, chose to take action. And this is really a long-standing commitment, long before the terrorist attack that decimated the editorial staff of Charlie Hebdo, now almost three years ago in January 2015.
At the Security Council in 2006, France launched a groundbreaking resolution for the protection of journalists in armed conflicts, which was resolution 1738.
And then together with Greece, we presented the resolution at the UNGA in 2013, establishing this International Day, that we’re celebrating today, and proposing measures to make a difference. Now steps should be taken for an effective implementation of the protection of journalists, so that we reduce the gap between this normative framework that we have achieved in the General Assembly and in the Security Council and the reality on the ground. And we do believe that we should set up a dedicated mechanism for that.
So in this regard we really appreciate and value the commitments of the UNESCO, of UNHCR, of OCHA and of all other relevant bodies at the UN for the protection of journalists and really particularly welcome the announcement just made by the Secretary-General that he is mobilizing a network of focal points from throughout the UN system to propose specific steps to intensify our efforts to enhance the safety of journalists and media workers and really welcome your appointment Mrs. Menendez as being in charge of these issues, in the office of the Secretary-General.
As the French President Macron said in his speech at the General Assembly in September: my country, France remains mobilized and will continue to push for three major things:
First, an effective protection of journalists,
Second, an effective accountability for crimes committed against them,
And third, to ensure a vibrant exercise of the right to inform.
I really do think that we owe it to these women that we have heard today, and we owe it also to Caruana Galizia, the Maltese journalist, we owe it to those who were reading and expecting her articles, and the articles and reports of all journalists who lost their lives while performing their crucial responsibility and role so that we can all enjoy a free, accurate and independent information,