H.E. Ashraf Ghani
President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
H.E. Abdullah Abdullah
Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
H. E. Mr Abdel-Ellah Sediqi, Ambassador
Permanent Delegate of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to UNESCO
H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
H.E. Dr. Abdul Basir “Anwar”
Minister of Justice of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
10 June 2016
IFEX, the global network of 104 organizations working to promote and defend freedom of expression worldwide, including in Afghanistan through our local member the Afghanistan Journalists Center, writes to you regarding your non-response to the UNESCO Director-General’s 2016 request to provide information on the status of judicial inquiries into the killings of journalists that occurred between 2006 to 2015.
While we applaud the recent presidential decree reaffirming Afghanistan’s commitment to freedom of expression and pledging better protection for media workers – including by expediting the investigations of journalists killed since 2002 – we encourage you to take a concrete step towards giving force to this decree by submitting your response to the Director-General for inclusion in UNESCO’s upcoming 2016 report on The Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, and to grant permission to make these responses publicly available.
The biennial Director-General’s report was commissioned by the International Programme for the Development of Communications (IPDC) as a means for States to demonstrate their commitment to addressing crimes against journalists and media workers by providing detailed information on the steps being taken to achieve justice and end impunity.
Since 2006, more than 700 killings of journalists and media workers have occurred worldwide. In over 90% of these cases, the perpetrators have gone unpunished. This type of extreme unchecked violence is the ultimate form of censorship and severely curtails the flow of information necessary for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic society to flourish. The culture of impunity that has developed around this issue only makes it more likely that such crimes will continue to occur. For this reason, the issue of impunity for killings of journalists is one of the greatest threats to freedom of expression and information worldwide.
To ensure that your efforts are documented in the 2016 report, we call on your government to display your leadership and accountability by submitting the relevant information to UNESCO before 15 June 2016. In so doing, you will be helping to improve political will to address violence, building a global repertoire of best legal practices, and showing that attacks on freedom of expression in Afghanistan will not be tolerated.
We look forward to your response to this letter and to seeing updated information on the cases mentioned above made public in the 2016 Report and on the UNESCO website. For more information visit: