WASHINGTON – The office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has urged Western Hemisphere nations to adopt measures to do away with impunity for crimes against journalists.
The IACHR made the appeal Sunday, the first International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists according to the resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2013.
“The impunity for crimes against journalists and people who are exercising their right to freedom of expression has been a great concern for this office,” said the special rapporteur in a statement in Washington.
The IACHR recalled that “the murder of 13 journalists or media workers in the hemisphere have been reported” in 2014, and denounced the “menacing effect” that those crimes have on media employees.
That effect, according to the statement, will only be prevented “though decisive state action to punish those responsible in line with its obligations under international law and domestic law.”
The special rapporteur urged the Western Hemisphere countries to “adopt adequate prevention mechanisms to prevent violence against the media, including public condemnation of any act of aggression.”
The countries should “carry out diligent, impartial and effective investigations into the murders, assaults, threats and acts of intimidation committed against journalists,” it added.
The organization also recommended “trials by impartial and independent courts of all those responsible for the murders, assaults, threats and acts of intimidation due to the exercise of the freedom of expression.”
The special rapporteur is an office created by the IACHR to promote the defense of freedom of thought and expression in the Americas, bearing in mind its crucial role in the consolidation and development of the democratic system.