Just days following the culmination of this year’s International Day to End Impunity campaign, IFEX welcomes the news that the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly has passed by consensus a resolution on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity. The resolution includes a call to make the International Day to End Impunity an official UN day, to be commemorated each year on 2 November.
Ending impunity for crimes against journalists, media workers and others is a critical priority for the 88 civil society groups that make up IFEX, the global network that defends and promotes freedom of expression.
There has never been a more dangerous time for journalists. They are being killed and imprisoned worldwide in record numbers. They face daily threats, attacks and intimidation from private individuals, non-state actors, and government officials who seek to silence them. The overwhelming majority of these crimes are committed with impunity.
Journalists report and publish news of critical importance to our daily lives. They are crucial promoters and defenders of our collective right to freedom of expression—a right that is inextricably linked to our ability to access and share information; to make informed decisions; to help develop and promote good government and economic and social progress; and to protect all other human rights.
The resolution unequivocally condemns all attacks, intimidation and violence against journalists and media workers, and calls on all Member States to protect them, to ensure that all crimes against them are investigated and brought to justice, and to promote an environment in which journalists and media workers can work independently and without interference. It also expresses support for the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, an unprecedented step in the promotion of freedom of expression.
IFEX welcomes the resolution’s call to proclaim November 2 as the International Day to End Impunity for crimes against journalists. With complete impunity in nine out of 10 cases of journalist murders worldwide, this decision does not come too soon.
This is a crucial step toward guaranteeing that individual journalists can continue to work in the public interest without fear of reprisal, and that those who seek to silence them with violence are brought to justice.
IFEX members’ ongoing efforts to end impunity, their annual participation in the International Day to End Impunity campaign and their support for this resolution undoubtedly contributed to today’s decision.