The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, today denounced the killing of Syrian writer, journalist and film-maker Orouba Barakat and her daughter Hala Barakat, also a journalist, in Istanbul on 22 September.
“I condemn the murder of Orouba Barakat and Hala Barakat,” said the Director-General. “I call on the authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime be brought to justice. Criminals must not be allowed to suppress the inalienable human right of freedom of expression, which is essential for democracy, good governance and rule of law.”
Turkish police found Orouba Barakat and her daughter Hala stabbed to death in their apartment in Istanbul. Hala Barakat was a journalist for the Dubai-based Orient News Channel. Orouba Barakat had been living and working in exile since the 1980s.
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
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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…”