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Attacks on journalists should not become new normal, UN chief warns as Security Council condemns peacekeepers attack in Mali

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for better protection of journalists to mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, which falls on Nov. 2.  

   More than 1,000 journalists have been killed while carrying out their work in last decade, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the secretary-general, at a regular news briefing, adding that 90 percent of those killings remain unresolved with no one held accountable. 

   In a video message, the UN chief said that the attacks and harassment of journalists are outrageous and “should not become the new normal,” and he called on governments and the international community to protect journalists and create the conditions they need to do their work.

   The International Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly to highlight the urgent need to protect journalists, and to commemorate the assassination of two French reporters in Mali on Nov. 2, 2013

Also, the Security Council on Saturday condemned attacks against UN peacekeepers in Mali that left two soldiers dead and several others wounded.

   An attack on a UN camp outside of Timbuktu killed two peacekeepers from Burkina Faso and injured 11 others, and four peacekeepers from Togo were injured in a convoy attack near Konna, a town in Mopti region, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said earlier Saturday.

   Members of the Security Council in a press statement expressed their deepest condolences and sympathy to victims’ families, as well as to the government of Burkina Faso and to the UN mission known by its French acronym as MINUSMA. They further expressed solidarity to the government of Togo.

   The members called on the Malian government to swiftly investigate the attacks and bring perpetrators to justice.

   Attacks targeting peacekeepers may constitute war crimes under international law, said the members, stressing that involvement in planning, directing, sponsoring or conducting attacks against MINUSMA peacekeepers constitutes, pursuant to Security Council resolutions, a basis for sanctions designations.

   The members expressed their concern about security situation in Mali and transnational terrorist threat in Sahel region, urging Malian parties to fully implement the Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation (“the Agreement”) in Mali without further delay.

   The Malian government in 2015 signed the Agreement with pro-government militias and some rebel groups in a bid to end hostilities and launch development programs in the troubled northern Mali, as well as to restore peace and stability to the country.

   Members of the Security Council stressed that these heinous acts will not undermine their determination to support the peace and reconciliation process in Mali. 

XINHUA

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