UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today condemned the attack on a Kabul hotel on Thursday 20 March, in which nine people were killed, including Sardar Ahmad, a senior reporter for Agence France Presse.
"I am deeply saddened by the news of this vicious attack and my heartfelt condolences go out to the families of all the victims. This is not only a human tragedy. It is also an affront to the will of the Afghan people to build a peaceful and open society," the Director-General said.
"Sardar Ahmad was one of those contributing to this effort, through his work as a journalist, contributing to the free flow of information, essential for dynamic, sustainable and stable societies. His loss will be keenly felt by all those courageous media workers striving for this goal, too often at the risk of their lives. I urge the Afghan authorities to do their utmost to bring those responsible for this crime to justice."
According to news reports, four gunmen stormed the Serena Hotel in Kabul during Nowruz celebrations, which marks the start of the Afghan and Persian new year. They killed nine, including Sardar Ahmad, members of his family, including his wife and two children, a former Paraguayan diplomat visiting the country to observe elections, and foreign nationals from Canada, India, New Zealand, and Pakistan.
Sardar Ahmad is the 4th journalist in Afghanistan whose killing has been condemned by the Director-General in 2014.
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