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UN Human Rights Chief deplores Paris attack

GENEVA (7 January 2015) – Statement by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on the killings by gunmen at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.

“I utterly condemn the appalling and ruthless attack on media workers and police officers in Paris earlier today, and urge anyone who has information that could help to locate the individuals who planned or carried out this hideous crime to immediately bring it to the attention of the French authorities, before other lives are lost. I offer my heartfelt condolences to the people of France, especially the families, friends and colleagues of those who were shot in cold blood in their office, and of those lying critically injured in hospital.”

“Freedom of expression and opinion are a cornerstone for any democratic society. Those trying to divide communities on grounds of religion, ethnicity or any other reason must not be allowed to succeed. The rule of law must unite us in standing firm against such terrorist acts. The rule of law also requires that we seek to arrest and punish those directly responsible for carrying out, planning or acting as accomplices to specific crimes and do not attach blame to any wider group.”

“If this attack is allowed to feed discrimination and prejudice, it will be playing straight into the hands of extremists whose clear aim is to divide religions and societies. With xenophobia and anti-migrant sentiments already on the rise in Europe, I am very concerned that this awful, calculated act will be exploited by extremists of all sorts.”

ENDS

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