More than 60 Member States, across all regional groups, have sponsored a draft resolution on Safety of Journalists and the issue of impunity, which was adopted, after two small editorial changes, on Friday 28 April without a vote.
The final version of the resolution has not yet been published, but its text appeals to all stakeholders to redouble their efforts for successful implementation of the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.
The resolution also invites Member States to ”provide input to, and engage in, the Multistakeholder Consultation on Strengthening the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which will be organized by UNESCO and the United Nations Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva on 29 June 2017.”
More information on the June event, including templates for contributing information, are on the UNESCO website.
In their resolution, the Executive Board further noted ”with appreciation” the steady increase in voluntary responses by Member States concerning the judicial investigations of killings of journalists.
They strongly urged Member States to ”continue to actively provide this information to UNESCO as part of the Director-General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, and to develop effective monitoring mechanisms for this purpose”.
The resolution also encourages ”Member States with the support of UNESCO to continue building capacity and setting up national safety mechanisms in order to prevent, protect against, and prosecute attacks on journalists and to combat impunity.”
Introducing the draft text, Swedish Ambassador Annika Markovic commended an increase in commitment by Member States in the United Nations to the safety of journalists. “A concrete example is the establishment of informal Group of Friends of Safety of Journalists with Member States in New York, Geneva and also here in Paris,” she said.
The Ambassador also stated that UNESCO has an important role to play in advancing Sustainable Development Goal 16.10 on public access to information and fundamental freedoms and in supporting Member States in strengthening national capacity in order to fight impunity.
Foreshadowing a specific emphasis in the resolution, Ambassador Markovic further noted that women journalists face specific risks, including threats, violence and sexual harassment.
The final list of Executive Board members sponsoring the resolution included: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Lebanon, Lithuania, Morocco, Netherlands, Nigeria, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Republic of Korea, Senegal, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Uganda, Ukraine, USA.
Non-members of the Executive Board who co-sponsored the draft decision included: Canada, Finland, the Gambia, Iraq, Bulgaria, Liberia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Palestine, Slovakia, Latvia, Luxemburg, Palau, Austria, Namibia, Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Romania, Norway, Switzerland, Andorra, Cyprus, Croatia, Belgium, Portugal, Australia, Peru, Honduras, Tunisia, Kuwait and Guatemala.