The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Ministry of Finance and Mass Media will on December 4, 2017 host a Seminar to commemorate the 2017 International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The one-day seminar is UNESCO’s 2017 IDEI main event and will explore the theme “Reinforcing regional cooperation to promote freedom of expression and the rule of law in Asia through ending impunity for crimes against Journalists”.
Various regional stakeholders including ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission of Human Rights (AICHR) and Human Rights Commissions’ representatives will participate in this seminar which seeks to advance dialogues and strategies to strengthen the regional cooperation on safety of journalists and ending impunity in Asia.
One of the objectives of the seminar is to promote freedom of expression and the rule of law through fostering safety of journalists and ending impunity in Asia. The event will focus on the role of the judiciary, National Human Rights Commissions as well as on the role of civil society and media in the persisting challenge of combatting impunity for crimes against journalists in the region.
The seminar will seek to increase knowledge and capacities of judicial members and human rights defenders; reinforce regional cooperation; and raise awareness on the importance of reinforcing or establishing mechanisms to protect journalists and fight impunity.
The seminar also aims to strengthen the fight against impunity for crimes against journalists in Asia and inscribe this issue in the larger framework to protect fundamental human rights. To do this, the event will encourage the exchange of best practices, identifying next steps and concrete solutions as well as deepening and sharing experiences, strengthening human rights defenders and civil society, and improving knowledge about how international standards are important tools in fighting impunity.
This event falls under the global framework of the implementation of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity, UN Resolutions and UNESCO Decisions on safety of journalists. By increasing the safety of journalists, reinforcing the fight against impunity and raising awareness for international standards and regional cooperation, the project aims to contribute to fostering peace and security, good governance and the rule of law. This comes also with the proposed actions outlined in the Outcome document of the Geneva Multi-Stakeholder Consultation of June 29, 2017.
The Colombo event will help raise awareness amongst regional bodies, national authorities and institutions, civil society and media on the importance of solving cases of killed journalists in order to strengthen the rule of law and stop the culture of impunity in Asia. It will also promote the exchange of knowledge and dialogues between national institutions (e.g. National Human Rights Commissions, judiciary institutions, specialized protection mechanisms), regional organizations (e.g. ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, ASEAN Parliamentarians), civil society (lawyers’ associations, journalist organizations) and media.
Civil society, media and other relevant stakeholders will also be invited to discuss their role in this process, focusing on strategies to reinforce their capacities.