HRC40: Oral statement to item 3 general debate


ARTICLE 19 delivered the following oral statement to the UN Human Rights Council’s 40th Regular Session in the General Debate on Item 3, raising our concerns on the safety of journalists.

Mr. President,

Days after the adoption of a detailed Human Rights Council resolution on the safety of journalists last September, Saudi Arabia, a member state, sent a hit squad to its consulate in Istanbul to murder Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

This brings into sharp relief the chasm between the commitments States make inside this chamber, and their actions outside. This hypocrisy must be called out.

We therefore welcome the joint statement of 37 States, condemning his murder and demanding cooperation with the investigation of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

On International Women’s Day, we deplore the threats and attacks against women journalists and human rights defenders, including sexual- and gender-based violations and abuses, and the structural and institutional discrimination that obstructs their access to effective protection, and to remedies.

In Mexico, we call for the government to fully comply with the landmark 2018 decision of the Human Rights Committee, in relation to the arbitrary arrest and sexual torture of journalist Lydia Cacho, which has remained in impunity since 2005.

We continue to call for an independent public inquiry into the killing of Daphne Caruana Galizia in Malta, in 2017, and for all outstanding libel action against her estate to be dropped.

The Philippines – now in its second term as an HRC member – has continued a campaign of harassment against Maria Ressa, CEO of independent news outlet Rappler, culminating in her arrest for “cyber libel.” The charges must be dropped.

In Turkey, Paradise Papers journalist Pelin Ünker, must not become another statistic as one of the 140+ journalists imprisoned in the country. Her reporting on the business dealings of the former prime minister and his sons was in the public interest – and her conviction must be quashed.

ARTICLE 19 calls on all States to follow the leadership shown by Iceland, to ensure that States that flagrantly violate their most basic human rights obligations, are held to account in this room.

Thank you.