Director-General condemns the murder of Syrian journalist Ruqia Hassan

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, has expressed indignation following reports that confirm the killing of Syrian journalist Ruqia Hassan.

“I condemn the murder of Ruqia Hassan,” the Director-General said. “I wish to pay tribute to this journalist’s courageous stand for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the most difficult of circumstances and her defiance of the brutal campaign that violent extremists are waging to suppress individuals’ freedom to think, speak and act.”

Journalist and media activist Ruqia Hassan had written about daily life in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which she refused leave when it was occupied by Daesh. She was kidnapped last July and killed in September, but her murder was only confirmed this week.

The Director-General of UNESCO issues statements on the killing of media workers in line with Resolution 29 adopted by UNESCO Member States at the Organization’s General Conference of 1997, entitled “Condemnation of Violence against Journalists.” These statements are posted on a dedicated webpage, UNESCO condemns the killing of journalists.


Media contact: Sylvie Coudray, s.coudray(at), +33 (0)1 45 68 42 12

UNESCO is the 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…”