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AFJC asks Afghan government to support the creation of a Special Representative for the safety of journalists

August 30, 2016

To: Mr. salahuddin Rabbani, Foreign minister of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan

cc: Nader Nadery, chief advisor to the president, public &strategic affairs

and ambassador-at-large for freedom of expression;

787 journalists and media personnel were killed while exercising their profession over the last 10 years. In the year 2015 alone, the numbers reflect 67 journalists killed worldwide.

Through them, the right to information of hundreds of millions of citizens has been sacrificed. The major problems around the world, from environmental issues to extremist violence, cannot be resolved without the work of journalists.

Afghanistan Journalists Center along with a coalition of media outlets, NGOs, journalists, and prominent public figures, are urging you to support the appointment of a Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for the safety of journalists.

Despite various resolutions adopted in the past decade, by both the Security Council and the General Assembly, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in his last annual report on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity (published on August 6, 2015) didn’t hesitate to speak of a “failure to reduce the frequency and scale of targeted violence that journalists face and the near absolute impunity for such crimes.” These strong resolutions could be no more than empty words without a concrete mechanism to ensure the compliance of member states with their obligations.

In this regard, only a Special Representative to the UN Secretary General for the Safety of Journalists working closely with the UN Secretary General will significantly empower the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity and all efforts lead by UNESCO, have the political weight, the capacity to act quickly, and the legitimacy to coordinate with all UN bodies to implement change.

We write to ask you to officially support the appointment of a Special Representative for the Safety of Journalists. We request that Afghanistan make an official statement of support at the opening of the UN General Assembly in September.

It is time for concrete action. It is time for journalists to work in a safe environment and to put an end to impunity.

 

Sincerely,

Ahmad quraishi

Executive director

Afghanistan Journalists Center