Director-General deplores killing of US journalist Luke Somers in Yemen

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova today denounced the killing of U.S. freelance journalist Luke Somers in Yemen on 6 December. Luke Somers was killed along with the South African teacher Pierre Korkie. The two men had been held hostage for over a year by an extremist group and were shot dead by their captors during a failed rescue operation in a village in the south of the country.

“I condemn the killing of Luke Somers,” the Director-General said. “The kidnapping and murder of journalists who work to improve our understanding of one another and of the world we share is an outrage against every value UNESCO was created to uphold."

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…”