Thursday, June 10, 2010

UN Human Rights Council: ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS Support Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

9 June 2010

UN Human Rights Council: ARTICLE 19 Highlights Need for Action to Tackle “Culture of Impunity” Surrounding Attacks on Journalists
ARTICLE 19 submitted an oral statement at the Panel Discussion on Journalists in Armed Conflict at the UN Human Rights Council’s 14th session.

In the statement to the Human Rights Council on 4 June, ARTICLE 19 emphasised that journalists around the world have been subject to very serious attacks in situations of armed conflict and other violent circumstances. It is a human rights issue that “deserves more focussed attention and action by the Human Rights Council.”

“Too often, a culture of impunity surrounds attacks on journalists. The denial of journalists’ human rights during conflicts leads to a ‘chilling effect’ on journalists’ freedom of expression, impedes the public’s ‘right to know’ and is a significant restraint upon the media’s role as a watchdog on the state,” said Sejal Parmar, Senior Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19, in her address to the Human Rights Council.

ARTICLE 19 urged states to properly implement their existing obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law to protect journalists in conflict situations.

ENDS
NOTES :

• For more information please contact: Sejal Parmar, Senior Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19, sejal@article19.org +44 20 7324 2500.
• For ARTICLE 19’s oral statement at the Panel on the Protection of Journalists in Armed Conflict see http://www.article19.org/pdfs/press/un-protection-of-journalists-in-armed-conflict.pdf
• ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.
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9 June 2010
Correction to the press release 7 June 2010
UN Human Rights Council: ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS Support Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

ARTICLE 19 and the Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) submitted a joint oral statement at the UN Human Rights Council’s 14th session welcoming the annual report of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr Frank La Rue.
In the statement to the Human Rights Council on 4 June, ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS expressed their strong support for the Special Rapporteur’s opinion that laws on “defamation of religions” are incompatible with international human rights law on freedom of expression.

“We hope that the emerging consensus in support of this position signals a shift in attitude amongst some states that will lead to a more constructive approach towards tackling global challenges of violence, discrimination and hatred on racial and religious grounds. ARTICLE 19 and the Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies support all governments who seek to promote such an approach,” said Sejal Parmar, Senior Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19, in her address to the Human Rights Council on behalf of ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS.

The organisations urged all states to cooperate with the Special Rapporteur by accepting his requests for country visits and to positively support him in carrying out his mandate.

ENDS
NOTES :
• For more information please contact: Sejal Parmar, Senior Legal Officer, ARTICLE 19, sejal@article19.org +44 20 7324 2500 or Jeremie D Smith, Director, Geneva Office, Cairo Institute of Human Rights js.cihrs@gmail.com or jsmith@cihrs.org +41 (0) 22 788 5272.
• The oral statement of ARTICLE 19 and CIHRS in response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right of freedom of opinion and expression is available here http://www.article19.org/pdfs/press/united-nations-human-rights-council-14th-session-4-june-2010-joint-oral-stat.pdf
• The report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right of freedom of opinion and expression, Mr Frank la Rue, 20 April 2010, A/HRC/14/23 is available here http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/14session/A.HRC.14.23.pdf
• ARTICLE 19 is an independent human rights organisation that works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression. It takes its name from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees free speech.
• The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies is an independent regional organisation based in Cairo, Egypt with offices in Geneva and Paris

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