The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, condemned today the murder of journalist Shoukri Ahmed Ratib Abu Bourghoul. He was wounded by a bullet on 30 December 2011 in Darya (Syria) and died from his injuries on 2 January 2012. The Director-General called upon the authorities to investigate the crime in order to shed light on the conditions of his death.
“I condemn the murder of Shoukri Ahmed Ratib Abu Bourghoul” said the Director-General. “This murder is an unacceptable attack against freedom of expression, the cornerstone of all democratic societies and against journalists’ inalienable right to carry out their work. I call on the government of Syria to make every effort to allow journalists to work in safety.”
According to the NGO Reporters without Borders, journalist Shoukri Ahmed Ratib Abu Bourghoul was deliberately shot by a group of armed individuals as he was heading home towards Darya, near Damas, after his weekly show on radio Damas.
UNESCO is the only 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…”