» UNESCO Director-General condemns bombing attack in Somalia
05.12.2009 -

UNESCO Director-General condemns bombing attack in Somalia

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, today condemned the suicide bombing in Mogadishu (Somalia) on 3 December, which took the lives of three Transitional Federal Government (TFG) ministers, three journalists and at least nine students.

“I condemn the suicide bombing that has inflicted loss on both the academic and the media communities of Mogadishu,” said the Director-General. “A celebration – a graduation ceremony for young doctors – was turned into a bloodbath. And yet Somalia is in dire need of doctors, and graduates of all kinds. It also needs journalists, and three were victims of the attack, which targeted members of the government in charge of sectors – education, culture and health – that all Somali should consider sacred. I call on all the authorities to put an end to these mindless killings that compromise the future of the whole country.”

According to the National Union of Somali Journalists, the bomb exploded at the Shamo Hotel during a graduation ceremony organized by Banadir University. Among the 23 dead are Mohamed Amin Adan Abdulle, a reporter with Radio Shabelle; Hassan Zubeyr Haji Hassan, a cameraman working with Al-Arabia TV; and a freelance journalist not yet identified. Also killed were the Transitional Federal Government’s Minister of Education Ahmed Abdillahi Wayeel, Minister of Culture and Higher Education Ibrahim Hassan Adow, and Minister of Health Qamar Aden Ali. A professor at Banadir University, Mohamed Aden Shaid, and at least nine students also lost their lives in the attack; several dozen people including other journalists were injured.

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…”

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