Director-General condemns assassination of Libyan journalist Daif Al GhazalThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the brutal torture and murder of Libyan writer and journalist Daif Al Ghazal whose body was found on June 2.
“I condemn the assassination of Daif Al Ghazal,” declared the Director-General. “Mr Al Ghazal was a brave and committed journalist who paid for the fundamental human right of freedom of expression with his life. The brutal torture he was made to endure before his death speaks volumes about the moral principles of his killers. Freedom of expression is fundamental to good governance and rule of law, torturing and silencing those who denounce problems does not make the problems go away.”
Mr Al Ghazal, 32, was a journalist for the London-based online newspaper Libya Al-Youm (Libya Today). According to the nongovernmental organization Reporters Without Borders, he was kidnapped on May 21 and his body was found on June 2, “barely recognizable” due to “many signs of torture.”
The Libyan authorities have announced they are investigating the killing of Mr Al Ghazal who - after ten years of work for the Movement of Revolutionary Committees, including four spent writing for its daily newspaper Al-Zhaf al-Akhdar (The Green March) - left the pro-government movement in 2003. According to the human rights organization Libya Watch, Mr Al Ghazal was “particularly committed to fighting corruption.”
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…”