2 November is the day proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 163/68, as the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. This date was chosen as a reminder of the assassination of French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.
Today, 2 November, the world celebrates International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists and Media Workers' security and the stability of States athat are threatened with corruption, arms trade, drug and human trafficking, election fraud, the ongoing pollution of the environment and the destruction of the oceans and forests, torture, enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest, arbitrary detention, expulsion, intimidation, harassment, physical, legal, political, technological and economic threats, and acts involving other forms of violence.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in defence of journalists and the freedoms that should protect them:
“I urge Member States and the international community to stand in solidarity with journalists around the world, today and every day, and to demonstrate the political will to investigate and prosecute crimes committed against journalists and media workers to the fullest extent of the law".
Geneva Institute for Human Rights urges States to ensure accountability by conducting impartial, prompt, thorough, independent and effective investigations into all alleged acts of violence against journalists and media workers within their jurisdiction and prosecute perpetrators, including persons ordering or conspiring with the perpetrators, inciting or concealing them, and ensure that victims and their families have access to appropriate remedies; immediate and unconditional release of journalists and media workers who have been arbitrarily arrested, taken hostage or become victims of enforced disappearance;
The Geneva Institute for Human Rights calls on all to seize the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the United Nations Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, 12 April 2012, in order to enhance the implementation of the Plan of Action over the next decade, including by strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships and building alliances and promote a coherent and comprehensive policy approach that encompasses the three pillars of prevention, protection and prosecution;
Finally, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights puts all its expertise and energies into raising awareness of journalists' rights and preventing impunity for perpetrators of crimes, and calls on all States to establish an early warning and rapid response mechanism to enable journalists and media workers, whenever threatened, to resort directly to competent authorities with sufficient resources to provide effective measures for their protection; the establishment of robust and effective national mechanisms for the protection of journalists, including, but not limited to: (a) the establishment of special investigative units or independent commissions of inquiry; (b) the appointment of a specialized prosecutor; and (c) the adoption of specific protocols, investigative and prosecutorial methods.
Support and capacity-building, training and awareness-raising of judicial personnel, law enforcement officials, military officers and security forces, as well as journalists and civil society, should be provided regarding States' duties and obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law in relation to the safety of journalists; the inclusion of journalists' safety and freedom of information in national development frameworks developed under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Let us make 2 November a day to raise awareness of the issue of journalists' safety and launch concrete initiatives in this regard.