Ampatuan massacre prosecutor to talk on ending impunity at UN event

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CMFR/Philippines – Free expression advocacy organization Article 19 will hold a side event on 17 September 2014 during the 27th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss ending impunity for attacks against journalists. Filipina lawyer Prima Quinsayas, a private prosecutor in the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) Massacre, will be part of the panel.

Quinsayas represents the families of 17 journalists/media workers killed in the massacre. She is the legal counsel of  the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) Inc., a coalition that has for members CMFR, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines, KBP), the Center for Community Journalism and Development (CCJD), the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and the Philippine Press Institute (PPI).

In 23 November 2009, 32 journalists and media workers were killed in an incident of election-related violence in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao province. Fifty-eight (58) people were killed in total. The Committee to Protect Journalists in New York called it the single bloodiest attack against the press in history.

Ahead of the first United Nations (UN) International Day to End Impunity (IDEI) on 2 November, Article 19 will discuss the following:

  • What must States do to end impunity for attacks on journalists?
  • What can protection and investigation mechanisms achieve, and what challenges do they face?
  • What are the obstacles to implementing the UN Plan of Action on the safety of journalists, and what can the Human Rights Council do to alleviate these?

Article 19 executive director Thomas Hughes will moderate the discussion.

The panel will also include: Dunja Mijatović, Representative on Freedom of The Media, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE); Guy Berger, Director, Freedom of Expression & Media Development, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Gregori Shvedov, Editor-in-Chief, Caucasian Knot online news medium, Russia; and Luciana Garcia, Former Director of Human Rights Defense Department of the Human Rights Secretariat, Brazil.

Internet users can follow the discussion through Article 19’s Twitter account, @article19UN, and the hashtag #HRC27.