United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Director-General condemns murder of Iraqi journalist Aswan Lutfallah

The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura today condemned the killing of Iraqi cameraman Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah in Mosul and called for urgent measures to protect journalists in the country.

“I condemn the murder of Aswan Ahmed Lutfallah,” the Director-General declared. “The number of journalists assassinated in Iraq has long reached intolerable levels and I urge the authorities to spare no effort in putting an end to this senseless bloodletting. Unless journalists and media workers are able to exercise their profession in conditions of reasonable safety, there can be little hope for the emergence of Iraq as a free and independent and democracy,” concluded Mr Matsuura.

Mr Lutfallah, 35, who worked for the Associated Press (AP) news agency, is reported to have been killed by insurgents who shot him when they saw him filming their fight with police on 13 November in Mosul, in northern Iraq.

According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), at least 163 journalists and media workers have been killed in Iraq since the start of the war there three years ago.

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…”

Source Press Release N°2006-153
Publication Date 15 Dec 2006
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