14.06.2010 - UNESCOPRESS

Director-General condemns killing of Turkish journalist Cevdet Kılıçlar in 1 June attack on flotilla sailing to Gaza

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today condemned the killing of Turkish journalist Cevdet Kılıçlar, in the Israeli military interception of the flotilla headed for Gaza on 1 June. The Director-General called for light to be shed on the events that led to the journalist’s death and called on all the authorities concerned to respect the rights of media covering the situation in Gaza.

“I condemn the killing of Cevdet Kılıçlar,” said the Ms Bokova. “I trust that an inquiry that meets international requirements will shed light on the events that led to Cevdet Kılıçlar’s death and to the injuring of Indonesian cameraman Sura Fachrizaz.”

“I wish Sura Fachrizaz a speedy recovery,” the Director-General added. “I also wish to remind all the authorities concerned of their responsibility to enable journalists to carry out their professional duties. They are obligated to do so under the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which provides for freedom of expression, and other international agreements concerning the status of journalists in conflict zones.”

“Full freedom of expression and freedom to access information are essential if peace, democracy, and rule of law are to be given a chance in Gaza,” Ms Bokova concluded.   Cevdet Kılıçlar was shot in the head during the Israeli military interception of the flotilla that was heading to Gaza on 1 June. Sura Fachrizaz sustained serious gun shot wounds during the same attack.

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…”  

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