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Director-General condemns murder of Iraqi journalist Hisham Mijawet Hamdan

15-02-2008 (Paris)
Director-General condemns murder of Iraqi journalist Hisham Mijawet Hamdan
Stop killing journalists
© Derstandard
UNESCO’s Director-Genral, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the murder of Iraqi journalist, Hisham Mijawet Hamdan, who was kidnapped on 10 February and subsequently tortured and executed in Baghdad.
“I condemn the murder of Hisham Mijawet Hamdan”, said the Director-General, adding that “it happened shortly after CBS News announced that two of its employees had been kidnapped in Bassorah, demonstrating once again the dangers that journalists face every day when working in Iraq. While these professional men and women deserve to be praised for their bravery, further measures also need to be taken to ensure their safety”.

Hisham Mijawet Hamdan, aged 27, was a member of the Association of Young Journalists, and worked for its fortnightly publication, Al-Siyassa wal-Karar. Having recently ceased its paper edition, this newspaper is now published on the internet. The journalist disappeared last Sunday, having gone out to buy office supplies in a Baghdad market. His body, which showed signs of torture, was discovered by police on 12 February.

According to the Association of Young Journalists, Hisham Mijawet Hamdan had recently been very active in the Association’s campaign to help the families of journalists killed in Iraq. He had recently appeared in a television programme on this subject, which may have made him a target.

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 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…”
Related themes/countries

      · Towards democracy in Iraq
      · UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists: News Archives 2008
      · Iraq: News Archives 2008
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Contact information

  • UNESCO Press release N°2008-10

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