UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today called for an investigation into the killing of Erick Martínez Ávila, a journalist and gay rights activist.
“I condemn the murder of Erick Martínez Ávila,” declared the Director-General. “I am deeply concerned about this second journalist killed in Honduras in a month and call on the authorities to bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime against the basic human right of freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democracy and rule of law and it is essential that journalists be allowed to contribute freely to political and social debate.”
Erick Martínez Ávila, 32 was a spokesman for Kukulcán, an organization that defends lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Ávila’s body was found on 7 May, two days after he had been reported missing. He is said to have been strangled.
Nineteen journalists and media workers, including Erick Martínez Ávila, have been killed in Honduras since 2009. They are listed on the dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.
In 2010, UNESCO supported training workshops in legal aspects of freedom of expression, access to information and election reporting for 140 journalists and media officers in the Honduran departments of Santa Rosa de Copán and Danli.
Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, +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…”