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Journalists in Armed Conflict Panel Discussion
June 4, 2010


Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Delivered by Mark Cassayre

Human Rights Council 14th Session
Geneva, June 4, 2010

Thank you, Mr. President. The United States expresses its gratitude to the panelists for their participation today.

The United States believes that we must act to stem violence against journalists. Already this year, we have seen more than 30 journalists and media personnel perish in armed conflicts. We are deeply distressed at this trend, and believe that all states and parties to armed conflicts must fully implement Security Council Resolution 1738 on the protection of journalists in armed conflict, and abide by their obligations under applicable international humanitarian law.

The Human Rights Council should seek to play a complementary and supportive role to the Security Council’s work to protect journalists in armed conflict. It should focus on addressing the human rights aspects of violence against journalists around the world, such as providing protections for freedom of expression and opinion essential for journalism. The Council should also address arbitrary arrest and detention of and reprisals against journalists. It is imperative that our work be cognizant of the relevant applicable legal regimes that apply in different cases, and of the complementary work of other international bodies seeking to address this important issue.

This Council should also act to build the capacity of countries emerging from armed conflict to rebuild the legal and institutional frameworks necessary for the media to operate freely and safely – work that the Council already does through positive technical assistance mandates. The creation of robust democratic institutions, adequate judicial and administrative mechanisms, and other steps all enhance the ability of states to protect and secure rights for all, including journalists.

We have the tools and mechanisms to protect journalists in armed conflict, but we still have considerable work to do to implement and strengthen them. We must also consider taking additional measures to enhance the safety and security of United Nations personnel who work to protect journalists and other civilians in armed conflict.

As the Council considers potential actions, I would like to ask our esteemed panelists: how can the Human Rights Council best support and complement the work of the UN Security Council to protect journalists and their ability to operate? How can our work as a Council support the work of the OHCHR and its leadership who have taken a keen interest in this issue?

Thank you, Mr. President.