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Strengthening freedom of expression and safety of journalists in the Americas

UNESCO and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (RELE, in Spanish) have started a 6-month partnership which aims at strengthening the participation of different stakeholders from the Americas on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and freedom of expression, safety of journalists and access to information.
Freedom of expression in the Americas

The right to freedom of expression is an enabling right for the full enjoyment of other human rights, and it is necessary for a democratic society. From the outset, pluralistic and diverse media provides information so that the public can make good choices. Despite it’s the importance of a free media, UNESCO data shows that the highest numbers of killings of journalists between 2016 and the end of 2020 took place in the the Americas, and Asia and the Pacific.

In a context of growing attacks against journalists and freedom of expression globally, improving the engagement with regional human rights mechanisms is a way of ensuring that all regions work towards an environment conducive to the full respect of freedom of expression with one voice.
​​​​​​​Tawfik Jelassi UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information

Increasingly, organizations work to defend the right to freedom of expression in the Americas. In doing so, they must adapt their own reports to the different mechanisms, resulting in a need for more coordination among human rights bodies. By enabling them to use the UPR more effectively to ensure protection for freedom of expression, this partnership hopes that it will have a multiplier effect on protecting other rights which are also gravely under threat in the continent.

This project aims to foster collaboration and cooperation between the reporting processes of the Inter-American and the UN systems and contribute to the guarantee of freedom of expression and the security of journalists in the Americas.

The efforts for the promotion and protection of freedom of expression at the regional and the universal levels should be fully harmonized. This partnership between RELE and UNESCO aims at building that bridge and ensuring that human rights mechanisms are successfully coordinated in the field.
Pedro Vaca Villarreal Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The expected outcomes of this project are, among others, to streamline the inputs for submissions to the UPR, strengthen the engagement of IACHR/RELE and other stakeholders throughout UPR processes and a greater use of the UPR by stakeholders in the Americas working on freedom of expression and safety of journalist’s issues.

For more information about how UNESCO  works with different stakeholders to use Universal Periodic Review to improv freedom of expression, access to information and safety of journalists: visit the webpage.

This project is funded UNESCO’s Multi-Donor Programme on freedom of expression and safety of journalists.

About the Multi-Donor Programme for Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists (MDP)

The MDP serves to further strengthen UNESCO work at a global, regional, and national levels, by channeling funds towards emerging priorities and the most pressing needs to achieve its mandate on freedom of expression. It enables UNESCO Communication and Information Sector to address complex issues through the design and implementation of holistic medium and long-term interventions at national, regional and global levels. The clear advantage of this mechanism is that it allows UNESCO and its partners to achieve greater impact and sustainability, whilst reducing fragmentation of activities in the same field.

Protect journalists and freedom of expression, visit this page.