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Director-General condemns brutal murder of Nepalese journalist Uma Singh

20-01-2009 (Paris)
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, condemned the brutal killing of Nepalese journalist and feminist activist Uma Singh on 11 January.
“I condemn the brutal murder of Uma Singh,” declared the Director-General. “If Nepal is to uphold the two basic human rights of freedom of expression and equal rights of men and women, it will need to bring the culprits of this crime to justice. This is not only an attack on an individual, but a blow to Nepalese society as a whole.”

Uma Singh, 26, is reported to have been attacked by some 15 men in the room she rented in Janakpur, some 240 km south-east of the capital. She was battered repeatedly with sharp objects and died of her injuries shortly before midnight while being driven to the capital, according to Reporters without Borders.

The journalist worked for the Janakpur Today daily newspaper and for Radio Today FM. She was noted in particular for her articles criticizing the dowry system, a widespread tradition in Nepal, whereby families pay significant sums of money and give land to the men their daughters are to marry.

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…”
Related themes/countries

      · Nepal
      · Press Freedom: News Archives 2009
      · UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists: News Archives 2009
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