The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of journalist Christopher Allen who died in South Sudan on 26 August.
“I condemn the killing of Christopher Allen,” said the Director-General. “In keeping with the Geneva Conventions, journalists retain their civilian status in conflict situations. It is therefore the obligation of all parties to protect them.”
Christopher Allen, a freelance journalist from the USA, was killed while reporting on fighting in the town of Kaya in the southwest of the country. His work had been carried by leading media outlets including Al Jazeera (Qatar), Vice News (USA), and UK newspapers The Independent and The Telegraph.
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…”