UNESCO chief speaks out against killing of Pakistani reporter

Ejazul Haq was killed on 28 May in the city of Lahore while reporting through his mobile telephone at the scene of one of the incidents, with television reporters hearing both the shots that killed him and his last words.Dozens of members of the Ahmadiyyah community were also killed in the twin attacks during Friday prayers on two mosques when gunmen armed with grenades attacked two mosques.“It is tragic that [Mr. Haq] paid with his life for his professional dedication,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).She voiced hope that Pakistani authorities enhance the safety of media professionals, “who are being made to pay an unacceptably heavy sacrifice to the fundamental human right of freedom of speech and to our right to be informed of events that concern us.”In the wake of the attacks, which were also condemned by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN human rights experts called on the Pakistani Government to take every step to ensure the safety of religious minorities, noting that numerous early warning signs had not been properly heeded. “Members of [the Ahmadi] community have faced continuous threats, discrimination and violent attacks in Pakistan,” the experts said in a joint statement.In Pakistan and elsewhere, Ahmadis have been declared non-Muslims by authorities in the past and have been subject to a number of undue restrictions and in many instances institutionalized discrimination. This emboldens some opinion-makers who wish to fuel hatred and perpetrators of attacks against religious minorities, the experts said. “There is a real risk that similar violence might happen again unless advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence is adequately addressed,” stressed the experts, who comprise the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Asma Jahangir, the Independent Expert on minority issues Gay McDougall and the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Philip Alston. 9 June 2010The head of the United Nations agency tasked with upholding press freedom today condemned the killing of a television journalist in Pakistan, who was shot while covering attacks on the religious Ahmadi community.

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