International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists – November 2
The United Nations (UN) have observed November 2 as a special day to condemn all attacks against journalists and media workers: The Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
What is the End Impunity campaign?
It is a yearly global initiative to demand accountability for the journalists, media workers, activists, lawyers and many others who have been targeted for exercising their right to freedom of expression, and empower organisations, government bodies and individuals to help dismantle systems of impunity around the world.
Over the past decade, more than 700 journalists have been killed for bringing news and information to the public. Worryingly, only one in ten cases committed against media workers over the past decade has led to a conviction. This impunity emboldens the perpetrators of the crimes and at the same time has a chilling effect on society including journalists themselves. Impunity breeds impunity and feeds into a vicious cycle.
Not all countries are open to freedom of speech and being a journalist can be a life-threatening occupation. According to the UN, more than 700 journalists were killed between 2004 and 2014.
Many of these deaths are either unsolved murders or killings in crossfire/combat. Only a small number of these has led to a conviction.
In Memory of Two Killed Journalists
In late 2013, the UN decided to dedicate November 2 to draw attention to crimes against journalists. The date was chosen in memory of two French journalists. Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon were brutally murdered in Mali on November 2, 2013. They were seen being beaten before they were driven away in a truck. Some sources say their bodies were found riddled with bullets, while others report their throats may have been cut.
Keeping Journalists Safe
This UN day is one of a number of campaigns urging leaders and governments to prevent violence against news workers. The UN has a number of similar days, like World Press Freedom Day.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution A/RES/68/163 at its 68th session in 2013 which proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’. The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.
This landmark resolution condemns all attacks and violence against journalists and media workers. It also urges Member States to do their utmost to prevent violence against journalists and media workers, to ensure accountability, bring to justice perpetrators of crimes against journalists and media workers, and ensure that victims have access to appropriate remedies. It further calls upon States to promote a safe and enabling environment for journalists to perform their work independently and without undue interference.