25.12.2009 -

Director-General Irina Bokova condemns murder of Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Kyrgyz journalist Gennady Pavlyuk and asked for an investigation into this crime.

“I condemn the murder of Gennady Pavlyuk,” declared the Director-General, “and I trust that full light will be shed on this crime. It is essential for the whole of Kyrgyz society that the authorities spare no effort in upholding the basic human right of freedom of expression. I am deeply concerned about reports of unacceptable pressure on the press in Kyrgyzstan, which, like every country, requires open debate for its political, social and economic development.”

Gennady Pavlyuk, also known under the pseudonym of Ibragim Rustambek, was found unconscious with duct tape around his feet and hands on 22 December after having been thrown from the window of a sixth-floor apartment in Almaty (Kazakhstan). He had arrived in the city on 16 December.

A former editor of the Kyrgyz edition of the Russian weekly Argumenty i Fakty, Gennady Pavlyuk worked as the editor of the Kyrgyz edition of Komsomolskaya Pravda, and contributed to the independent newspaper Bely Parokhod. He is reported to have been highly critical of the Kyrgyz authority.

<li>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…</li>”

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