UNESCO Director-General condemns attack against Christian radio station in NairobiUNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the 12 May attack against a Christian radio station in Nairobi that left one person dead and two others injured.
“I condemn this murderous attack that could so easily trigger inter-communal violence. No religion and no community win when violence is used to settle differences. This aggression is unacceptable for several reasons: first, it is an intolerable attack on press freedom, a right that is at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate; it is also carries the seeds of new misunderstanding and violence, yet dialogue between civilizations and religions is the only option for humanity,” Mr Matsuura said.
On the night of 12 May, assailants raided Radio Hope, which belongs to the Nairobi Pentecostal Church, killing one security guard and wounding a second guard and a radio presenter. A passer-by was also injured when the assailants fled after setting fire to the premises with Molotov cocktails. The attack followed a programme in Swahili urging Muslims to convert to Christianity.
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…”