International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists 2019
International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists
Remarks by Ms. Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations, on behalf of the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists
United Nations – 5 November 2019
Distinguished representatives and guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am really pleased to make these introductory remarks on behalf of the twenty-one Member States who are members of the Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists that France is honoured to co-chair, alongside with Lithuania and Greece. And for this very special occasion to mark the 2019 International Day to end Impunity for crimes against Journalists, I recall that the date of 2 November was chosen in memory of the assassination of two French journalists, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, which tragically happened on the 2 November 2013 in Mali.
The Group of Friends is honoured to host today this screening of the documentary film “Under the Wire” together with UNESCO whom I thank warmly. I would like particularly to welcome the presence of the sister of Marie Colvin for this event. Thank you for being with us.
Since the establishment of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI), this event has gained significant support by all actors involved in the promotion and protection of freedom of expression and of the safety of journalists. With over 1,000 journalists that have been killed accross the world in the last 12 years, meaning between the year 2007 and the year 2018, and only one case out of ten that is judicially solved, the level of impunity for crimes against journalists remains terribly and, I want to say, horrifyingly high. This high level of impunity imposes a climate of fear in many parts of our world, and this is true not only for media professionals, but also for entire societies, and it’s detrimental to the free circulation of information, but also detrimental to the expression of opinions and ideas for all citizens.
The formation of our Group of Friends for the Protection of Journalists in 2016 was primarily driven by the shared urgency of its founding members to promote a better implementation of existing international norms on the protection of journalists. We were concerned, and we remain concerned, that despite significant progress in the international framework, major gaps remain and normative rules are still challenged by the reality that is experienced by journalists and by media workers.
Today, the Group of Friends remains dedicated to full implementation of the resolutions on the protection of journalists as well as to the UN Plan of Action, there is a UN plan of action, adopted under the auspices of UNESCO. And thank you again UNESCO for your action in this regard. We are particularly grateful for the leadership of the Secretary-General in this regard and for the activation of the relevant Focal Points Network within the UN system, that’s an important element. We encourage this network of focal points to report on its activities as necessary. That is really crucial for the level of vigilance to actually be practical in the UN Family. The Group of Friends continues to work closely with all UN entities, representatives of representatives of the media organizations and NGOs.
All of our efforts are of course important, and we need to count on each other, as we all growing acutely and painfully aware of the rising global challenges and difficulties to the rights and fundamental freedoms, the deteriorating security situations, the repressive media climate, and the shrinking space for civil society and human rights defenders. Unfortunately, journalism remains a dangerous profession to engage in situations that are increasingly challenging around the world, as well as domestically when it comes to shed lights on organized crimes or on corruption.
Risks and threats to female journalists are also significantly higher than those encountered by their male counterparts. That’s the focus that has been chosen for the resolution on the safety of journalists this year, which seems more relevant than ever.
Impunity for crimes against journalists constitutes one of the main factors fueling the cycle of violence against the exercise of freedom of expression. It weakens not only freedom of expression and access to information, but it weakens all other fundamental rights as well as democracy. That‘s why we, the Group of Friends, along with UNESCO and international and grass roots organizations, will continue to stand ready to do our part in strengthening international commitments to the freedom of expression both online and offline as well as to strengthen international standards on safety of journalists and media workers.
Thank you very much.