The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today voiced deep concern over the death of Italian journalist Andrea Rocchelli and his Russian fixer and interpreter Andrei Mironov, well known for his work as a human rights activist, on 24 May in Ukraine. She also urged all parties to respect the civilian status of media workers and their right to carry out their work in safe conditions.
“I condemn the killing of media workers Andrea Rocchelli and Andrei Mironov,” the Director-General said. “Attacks on journalists are no more acceptable in conflict situations than they are in times of peace,” Ms Bokova added. “I urge all those involved in the fighting in Ukraine to respect the Geneva Convention and its Protocols which clearly state the obligation of military forces to respect the civilian status of reporters and ensure that they can carry out their work in safe conditions.”
Italian photo journalist Andrea Rocchelli, the 30-year old cofounder of the Cesura photo agency, and veteran Russian activist, Andrei Mironov, a 60-year-old member of the board of the human rights organisation Memorial, were killed by mortar fire as they were travelling in a car near the city of Sloviansk on 24 May.
A French photo journalist, William Roguelon, who was in the same car escaped the vehicle and sustained leg injuries in the attack, which is reported to have begun with gunshots followed by mortar fire.
The Director-General’s condemnations of the killing of media workers are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at)unesco.org, +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12
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…”