The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today deplored the shooting of Abdul Ghani Kaakeh, a Syrian citizen journalist killed during a demonstration in the city of Aleppo on 4 May.
“I denounce the killing of Abdul Ghani Kaakeh,” the Director-General said. “The targeting of civilians filming demonstrations in Syria is a criminal offense against the most fundamental human rights. It is also an infringement of the ceasefire approved within the framework of the UN Peace observers' mission.”
According to Reporters Without Borders, Kaakeh, 19, was shot in the neck while filming a demonstration. He is believed to have been targeted because of his activities. Kaakeh is reported to have been arrested several times for posting footage of demonstrations on the Internet.
Ten journalists and media workers including Abdul Ghani Kaakeh have been killed in Syria since the start of protests in the country last year. They are listed on UNESCO’s dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated 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…”