Director-General condemns the brutal killing of Kaieteur News employees in Georgetown, GuyanaThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the brutal murder of four employees of the Guyanese newspaper Kaieteur News on the night of 8 August.
“I condemn the brutal killing of Richard Stewart, Chetram Persaud, Elion Wegman, and Mark Mikoo,” said the Director-General. “I am deeply shocked by this heinous crime against innocent workers of the Kaieteur News printing plant. Moreover, this must be considered as an attack on freedom of the press and democracy and I trust that the authorities will do all they can to bring the culprits to justice thereby protecting democracy and rule of law.”
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), on the night of 8 August, masked assailants carrying automatic weapons shot the guard of the printing plant situated on the outskirts of Georgetown.
They forced five of the six employees on the premises to lie down and shot them in the back of the head. One of the five survived but was said to be in a critical condition while the sixth employee successfully hid from the assailants.
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…”