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Director-General Condemns Murder of Haitian Radio Journalist Abdias Jean

28-01-2005 (Paris)
UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura has condemned the murder of Haitian radio reporter Abdias Jean allegedly killed by police in the Village de Dieu sector of the capital Port-au-Prince on January 14.
“I strongly condemn the killing of Abdias Jean who appears to have been shot dead for carrying out his professional duty to inform the public,” the Director-General said. “The use of force to deprive journalists and their audience of the fundamental human right of freedom of expression, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is an intolerable attack on democracy and rule of law. If reports that Mr Jean was killed by the police are confirmed, it would be particularly shocking to think that such crimes are perpetrated by the very forces responsible for law and order.”

News agency reports quote eyewitnesses saying that Mr Jean was murdered by police as he was covering their raid on the shantytown of Village de Dieu and their killing of several people there. Police are reported to have beaten Mr Jean and shot him after he identified himself as a journalist.

“I am very concerned about the situation in Haiti, and persistent reports of violence against the media which have an essential role to play if normalcy and good governance are to be established in the country,” the Director-General concluded.

UNESCO is the only 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 purpose the Organization is required 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…”

(Source: Press Release No.2011)
Related themes/countries

      · Freedom of Expression: News Archives 2005
      · Haiti: News Archive
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