Journalists Around The World Are Increasingly Seeing Khashoggi-Like Fate: UN Expert
UNITED NATIONS: Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was deliberately killed at the hands of state actors and journalists around the world are increasingly seeing the same fate, said a United Nations expert.
After a six-month investigation, UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Agnes Callamard determined that Saudi Arabia is “responsible” for the “extrajudicial” murder of Washington Post writer Khashoggi.
“This killing was a result of an elaborate mission involving extensive coordination and significant human and financial resources. It was overseen, planned, and endorsed by high level officials and it was premeditated,” she was quoted as saying by international media.
She was speaking at the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday, as she presented her report on Khashoggi’s killing. The 100-page document was earlier made public on June 19.
According to RSF (Reporters Without Borders), 80 journalists were killed, 348 imprisoned, and 60 held hostage in 2018, reflecting an unprecedented level of violence against journalists.
The RSF, in the World Press Freedom Index 2018, has ranked Pakistan at 139. It was 136 in 2017. It especially cited the growing hatred and disdain for journalists behind the new wave of violence against them.
“The right to life is a right at the core of international human rights protection. If the international community ignores targeted killing designed to silence peaceful expression, it puts at risk the protection on which all human rights depend,” Callamard added.
Since it occurred at a consulate in Turkey, the killing cannot be considered a “domestic matter” and violates the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations as well as the prohibition against extraterritorial use of force in times of peace, making it an international crime.
Callamard pointed to the need to establish a UN criminal investigation to ensure the delivery of justice, noting that the inquiry undertaken by the Saudi authorities was woefully inadequate.
“The investigation carried out by the Saudi authorities has failed to address the chain of command. It is not only a question of who ordered the killing—criminal responsibility can be derived from direct or indirect incitement or from the failure to prevent and protect,” she said.
“This execution is emblematic of a global pattern of targeted killings of journalists, human rights defenders, and political activists,” Callamard said.
Callamard urged Saudi Arabia to release those imprisoned for their opinion or belief and to undertake an in-depth assessment of the institutions “that made the crime against Mr Khashoggi possible.”
She also stressed the need to strengthen laws to protect individuals against targeted killings, including the sharing of information if an individual is at risk.
“There are clear signs of increasingly aggressive tactics by states and non-state actors to permanently silence those who criticise them. The international community must take stock of these hostile environments, it must take stock of the findings of my investigation into the killing of Mr Khashoggi,” Callamard told the Human Rights Council.
“Denunciations are important, but they are no longer sufficient. The international community must demand accountability and non repetition. It must strengthen protections and prevention urgently. Silence and inaction will only cause further injustice and global instability,” she added.