Report of the Independent international commission of inquiry on the situation

The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC)

الحملة الدولية “لشعار شارة” حماية الصحفى

General Assembly

Human Rights Council

25th session

Item 4 – Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention

Report of the Independent international commission of inquiry on the situation in the Syrian Arab Republic (A/HRC/25/65)


Mr. President,

The Press Emblem Campaign commends the Independent international commission of inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic for its report and expresses its appreciation for its established practice to have a particular section dedicated to the situation of journalists facing all possible violation of their fundamental rights which remain unpunished.

The PEC strongly condemns hostage-taking and arbitrary detention of more than 30 foreign journalists occurred during last year, with at least a dozen of them held for several months in inhuman and unjustifiable circumstances; PEC calls upon all States to cooperate for their immediate release and contribute to respect international humanitarian law in accordance with their obligations. We invite the IICI to update the Council with the list of media workers detained or kidnapped either by the Syrian government or the opposition armed groups, a practice that should be considered as a crime and, as such, cannot be accepted.

Indeed, Syria was the deadliest country for media workers in 2013 and, as of today, since the closing of the last session of this very Council, the PEC counts 5 more media workers killed in the country. We wish to point out here again that PEC statistics counts only professional journalists and media workers in order to highlight the specific mission accomplished by them that, in our view, requires a specific protection.

The PEC expresses its deep concerned about the different forms of threat posed on media workers by the armed opposition groups and vigorously denounces the inhuman or degrading treatment imposed on media workers. Self censorship has become the most vicious and pervasive way to silence journalists in Syria; with many leaving the country. We wish to call the attention of the IICI on the case of Mrs Sevra Baklaci a Turkish journalist who is subject to death threat by opposition groups because she conducted a research on the crimes committed against the Alawites.

The PEC honours the courage of the journalists who created the Syria’s first independent Kurdish-language newspaper Nu Dem (New Time).

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Finally, the PEC is still very concerned about the fate of Mazen Darwish, Director of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, who was arrested in February 2012 and is still held in arbitrary detention with his two colleagues Hani Zitani and Hussein Al Ghurair are. The PEC calls again on the Commission of Inquiry to investigate and to report to the Council on this particular case.

I thank you for your attention.

18 March 2014