UNESCO partners with Inter-American System of Human Rights for Impunity Day Conference


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is collaborating with the Inter-American System of Human Rights to hold an international conference in San José, Costa Rica on October 9 and 10, 2015 as an advance commemoration of the International Day against Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

Stakeholders from the judicial and legal communities will take part in the international conference which is to be held in the auditorium of the Inter-American Court for Human Rights in San José.

The event is expected to especially attract judges and prosecutors from the Latin American and Caribbean region. The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS), Edison Lanza, is partnering with UNESCO and the Inter-American Court to host the event.

The conference will examine how impunity towards crimes against journalists is considered one of the main factors fuelling the cycle of violent crimes against the exercise of freedom of expression and human rights more broadly. It will deepen and share experience and jurisprudence of International Courts, as well as national references in regard to national High Courts.

Holding the event in mid-October aims to provide global and regional signal about the UN’s International Day against Impunity for Crimes against Journalists in advance of its celebration on November 2.

In 2014, UNESCO marked the Day with a conference in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The San José event in 2015 will initiate an online discussion and an online course involving the constituency.

According to the  UNESCO Director-General’s 2014 +Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, less than six percent of the 593 cases of killings of journalists from 2006-2013 have been resolved.

The conference will take place within the wider context of the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity which has been endorsed by the UN Chief Executives Board and appreciated by the UN General Assembly.

The tentative Agenda, with participants still to be confirmed, includes representatives from national courts in Latin America, the Ibero-American Summit of Judges, as well as global regional courts of human rights.

Civil society groups from Mexico, Colombia, Brazil and Guatemala, will be asked to discuss their roles in awareness raising and in their works to strengthen the effectiveness of mechanisms to protect journalists and end impunity.