Director-General condemns killing of Somali reporter and calls for improved safety measures
The Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the killing of Somali National News Agency reporter Hassan Kafi Hared and called for measures to improve the safety of journalists in Somalia.
"I condemn the killing of Hassan Kafi Hared," the Director-General declared. "Journalists must be able to work in conditions of reasonable safety if they are to exercise the fundamental human right of freedom of expression and keep the population of Somalia and of the world informed about events in the country. I wish to pay tribute to the dedication of Hassan Kafi Hared and his colleagues, who carry out work essential for national reconciliation and reconstruction at tremendous personal risk, as tragically shown by this event," concluded Mr Matsuura.
Mr Matsuura also expressed his condolences to Medecins sans Fronières - Holland for the death of two of its aid workers and their driver in the attack.
Mr Hared died on 28 January when a remote-controlled mine blew up a Medecins Sans Frontières vehicle in the southwestern Somali port town of Kismayo, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Shooting broke out after the explosion and Mr Hared was brought to hospital where he died.
The CPJ counted seven journalists killed in the line of duty in Somalia in 2007 and ranked the country as the second-most dangerous place to be a journalist after Iraq.
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..."