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UN: Prevent Violations Against Journalists

Warring Parties Must Prevent Violations Against Journalists, Security Council Says

New York, Dec 25 2006 12:00PM

Reaffirming the civilian status of journalists, the United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution urging warring parties to prevent abuses against them and to respect their professional independence and rights.

The Council's unanimously adopted measure comes amid numerous deadly attacks on media professionals. Reporters without Borders said earlier this month that in Iraq a total of 137 journalists and media assistants had been killed since the start of the war in 2003.

The resolution recalled the Council's demand that "all parties to an armed conflict comply fully with the obligations applicable to them under international law related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including journalists, media professionals and associated personnel."

States and all other parties were urged "to do their utmost to prevent violations of international humanitarian law against civilians, including journalists, media professionals and associated personnel."

Parties were also urged to respect the professional independence and rights of these individuals.

Pointing out that to deliberately target civilians and other protected persons may constitute a threat to international peace and security, the Council reaffirmed its readiness to take steps in response.

On the other side of the equation -- where the media is used to further inflame a volatile situation -- the Council reaffirmed its condemnation of all incitements to violence and the need to bring to justice individuals responsible for it.

The resolution, adopted Saturday, also indicated the Council's willingness when authorizing peacekeeping missions, to consider, "where appropriate, steps in response to media broadcast inciting genocide, crimes against humanity and serious violations of international humanitarian law."

ENDS

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