UN urges probe into Mexico journalist deaths

UN urges probe into Mexico journalist deaths

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[JURIST] The UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] on Saturday voiced concerns regarding the growing number of journalists killed in Mexico [UN News Centre report] and called for Mexican authorities to investigate these crimes and bring those responsible to justice. According to the journalism rights group, Reporters without Borders (RSF) [advocacy website], the discovery on September 24 of the body of Maria Elizabeth Macias, editor of Primera Hora, marked the fourth woman journalist to be murdered in Mexico this year as well as the eightieth journalist to be killed [press release] in the country within the last decade. The death of Macias is believed to be the result of her online blogging activity, which covered organized crime in her neighborhood. OHCHR spokersperson Rupert Colville said [press briefing]:

We urge the Mexican authorities to launch immediate full and impartial investigations into these events. We also remind them of their obligation to protect all people in Mexico from the threats to the enjoyment of their fundamental rights, particularly their right to life, to security and integrity of the person, and to freedom of expression.

He noted that the killings illustrate the “deteriorating situation of freedom of expression in the country.”

In May, RSF released its annual list of predators of press freedom [JURIST report], which included the heads of state of several countries in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as Mexican drug cartels. The list was composed of 38 world leaders and organizations, including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [Al Jazeera profile], Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi [BBC profile, and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh [official website, in Arabic], whose countries have been engulfed in the recent wave of protests across the region. Other predators of press freedom include Spain’s ETA, the government of Iran and the government of China. In April, the US Department of State (DOS) [official website] released its 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices [materials]. The reports cited many of the same leaders and organizations [JURIST report] for violating freedom of the press.