Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO, today urged a thorough independent inquiry into the death of investigative reporter Mohammed al-Absi in Yemen.
“I call on the authorities to launch an independent investigation into the death of Mohammed al-Absi, in order to clarify allegations of foul play and hold those responsible to account.”
Al-Absi led investigative reports in Yemen for several news outlets. After his sudden death of heart failure at the age of 35 on 20 December last, an autopsy revealed his blood contained a high concentration of toxic gas.
The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.
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UNESCO is the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”