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UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression condemns attack on journalists in Paris

GENEVA (7 January 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, condemned in the strongest possible terms the attack on journalists at the magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

“Today’s attack is one of the gravest attacks on journalists and a free press in recent history,” the human rights expert said. According to reports, gunmen killed at least twelve individuals at the satirical magazine based in the heart of Paris. “It is critical at a time like this to reiterate the vital importance of a free press in democratic societies.”

“There will be voices urging satirists in particular to exercise caution in their expression,” Mr. Kaye noted. “I urge the opposite: that all those with any capacity to restrain such violence to do so now and in clear and absolute terms.”

“Shocked by today’s display of violence, I express my solidarity with journalists, satirists, and artists under threat,” the expert said. “I look forward not only to accountability for this horrific violence but also to hear all voices across the political spectrum condemning it unequivocally.”

The Special Rapporteur extended his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and the people of France.

David Kaye (USA) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in August 2014 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomOpinion/Pages/OpinionIndex.aspx

The UN human rights experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – France: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/ENACARegion/Pages/FRIndex.aspx

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Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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