UNESCO partners with Inter-American System of Human Rights for Impunity Day conference

Actors from the judicial and legal communities will take part in an international conference in San José, Costa Rica, on 9 and 10 October, as an advance commemoration of the International Day against Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

To be held in the auditorium of the Inter-American Court for Human Rights in San José, the event is expected to especially attract judges and prosecutors from the Latin American and Caribbean region.

The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of Organization of American States, Edison Lanza, is partnering with UNESCO and the Court in hosting the event.

The conference will examine how impunity towards crimes against journalists is considered one of the main factors fuelling the cycle of violent crime against the exercise of freedom of expression and human rights more broadly. It will deepen and share experience and jurisprudence of International Courts, as well as national references in regard to national High Courts.

Holding the event in mid-October provides in advance global and regional signal about the UN’s International Day against Impunity for Crimes against Journalists which is marked on 2 November.

In 2014, UNESCO marked the Day with a conference in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The San José event in 2015 will initiate an online discussion and an online course involving the constituency.

According to the 2014 UNESCO Director-General’s Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, less than six percent of the 593 cases of killings of journalists from 2006-2013 have been resolved.

The conference will take place within the wider context of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, which has been endorsed by the UN Chief Executives Board and appreciated by the UN General Assembly.

The tentative Agenda, with participants still to be confirmed, includes representatives from national courts in Latin America, the Ibero-American Summit of Judges, as well as global regional courts of human rights.

Civil society groups, for example in Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Guatemala, will be asked to discuss their role in awareness raising and in work to strengthen the effectiveness of mechanisms to protect journalists and end impunity.

For more information please contact Günther Cyranek, UNESCO Office in San José.

The draft concept note for the conference is available below: