Journalists’ safety: Kabul ignores co-sponsoring United Nations resolution

Monitoring Desk

KABUL: The Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) on Wednesday said it was disappointed to learn that the Afghan government had failed to co-sponsor the UN resolution on safety of journalists and the issue of impunity.

In a statement, the organization said Afghanistan continued to be among the most dangerous places for journalists with widespread impunity in place.

The UNGA resolution on “the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity”, initiated by Greece, Argentina, Austria, Costa Rica, France, and Tunisia, was adopted at the Third Committee of the UNGA on 20 November 2017 by consensus.

It received the support of 88 cosponsoring UN member states from across all regions and Afghanistan is not included

“We are regretted that Afghanistan did not co-sponsor the recent UN resolutions on the safety of journalists at the UN General Assembly (GA resolution 70/162, December 2015) or UN Human Rights Council (HRC resolution 33/2, September 2016) and it was important that Afghanistan take a firm and public stance in favour of journalists’ freedom on the international stage at the UN this year.” said Ahmad Quraishi, AFJC Executive Director.

He added that despite President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah’s commitments, Afghanistan did not support the resolution which is a disappointing move.

On November 12, 2017, AFJC, a member of the global IFEX network, together with the global freedom of expression organisation ARTICLE 19, in a letter to Salahuddin Rabbani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mahmoud Saikal, Afghanistan’s Permanent Representative to UN requested to co-sponsor the new resolution on safety of journalists and issue of impunity.

The UN resolution calls upon all states to take comprehensive action to end impunity for attacks on journalists, with a focus on tackling attacks that target or disproportionately affect women journalists.

It also reiterates crucial commitments States have made to release all arbitrarily detained journalists, reform legal frameworks so they are not abused to undermine media freedom, protect digital security, cease Internet shutdowns, and end the forced closure of media outlets.

As per AFJC’s records, 73 Journalists and media workers have been killed in Afghanistan and two Afghan journalists killed in Pakistan since 1994 and the government has failed to bring the perpetrators to justice and also the impunity for them stands at more than 90%.

On 2 November, the UN marked the fourth International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, which was created by the first UNGA resolution on this topic in 2013.

The latest resolution is the fourth from the UNGA addressing this issue since 2013, and is the most comprehensive and most broadly supported yet.

AFJC called upon Afghan leaders to stand by their commitments both the national and international stages and ensure the safety of journalists and ending of impunity in the country.