IFJ Executive Committee Meeting
Rome, 4-5 June 2005
Human Rights Report
To: Executive Committee
From: IFJ Human Rights / Information Officer
IFJ Human Rights and Safety Fund
Report of Activities
SINCE the last Executive Committee meeting in Brussels, in October 2004, the IFJ has
continued to monitor policy and activities in the field of protection of journalists. In particular
action has concerned:
The safety of journalists and media staff in Iraq, which at May 1st had
counted at least 78 victims in the media community, with over 55 victims
local Iraqi journalists killed. Throughout the conflict the IFJ has maintained a
running commentary of media incidents as they unfolded on the website. On
April 8 this year, the IFJ led a global protest on the 2nd anniversary of the
killings of at least 14 journalists in Iraq at the hands of US soldiers. So far
during 2005, at least 30 journalists and media workers have been killed
throughout the world. These deaths show a real need for international action in
order to combat an incredibly high level of targeted attacks on journalists
throughout the world.
In January this year, a newly-designed format of the IFJ Annual Report on
Journalists and Media Staff killed was published in English, French and
Spanish and was successfully launched worldwide. The report highlights a
shocking scale of killings, murders and assassinations of our colleagues
across the globe, with at least 129 journalists and media staffers who have
either been targeted for hard-hitting reporting or have died in crossfire
incidents, accidents or unexplained deaths. A special excerpt was published in
order to commemorate the deaths of at least 100 journalists in the Tsunami
disaster and a safety office was set-up in Indonesia.
The IFJ has continued discussions with the United Nations, the ICRC and
INSI among others, in relation to better protection of the media in conflict
zones, in particular discussions on an emblem for journalists. The IFJ has
worked closely with the INSI in support of their Global Inquiry which is due
to have its first meeting in Doha, Qatar on May 23. (Further details available
in report by General Secretary). The IFJ website now incorporates a special
revamped section on journalists and media staff killed in the line of duty – with
a comprehensive advanced search.
The IFJ Human Rights Officer has been involved in a campaign to drive
forward a more proactive approach to support of Human Rights Defenders as
detailed in the EU Guidelines on Human Rights. The HR Officer participated
in the launch of the Guidelines by the Dutch Foreign Ministry in The Hague
in December 2004. An ongoing campaign is being carried out to monitor the
effective implementation of the guidelines in association with Human Rights
Watch, Amnesty International, Peace Brigades International, the International
Federation of Human Rights and the World Organisation Against Torture.
The IFJ Human Rights Officer has been working with these organisations to
lobby the Belgian Parliament and eventually the European Parliament to
implement these guidelines in specific areas such as Colombia, the Great
Lake region in Eastern Africa and Nepal.
Since the Nepalese royal coup in February we have worked closely with
colleagues in the Asia-Pacific region to provide international support in the
country, using financial assistance from the IFJ Safety Fund to support
national, regional and local safety activities administered by the IFJ local
affiliate, the Federation of Nepalese Journalists.
The IFJ work on the Gongadze case has advanced under the umbrella of its
campaign against impunity. On 25 January 2005, the working commission of
the Gongadze inquiry sent a delegation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg
in order to present an interim report at a press conference at the winter session
of PACE in Strasbourg. In February, the IFJ sent letters to the new President
Viktor Yushchenko and in March the senior members of the working
commission researching the case met with General Prosecutor Svyatoslav
Pyskun, his deputy Viktor Shokin, the interior minister Yuri Lutsenko,
Gongadze’s mother’s solicitor Andriy Fedur, and Alyona Prytula, the last
person to see Gonagdze alive. In April, the researchers wrote to all those who
have said they have versions of the vital evidence in the case (the
Melnychenko tapes) to establish under what conditions they would be
prepared to hand over their evidence for examination. The Council of Europe
has established a special commission on the Gongadze case, chaired by
former German justice minister Sabina Leutheusser-Schnarrenburger. The
working commission has requested a meeting with Ms Leutheusser-
Following the acceptance of the IFJ as the host of the IFEX GM to be held
during the last week of February 2006, the IFJ Human Rights and Safety officer
in conjunction with partners from Journalists @ Your Service (J@YS) have
continued to work on the organisation of the event, which sets itself up as a key
platform for IFJ networking and campaigning prospects with other NGOs,
human rights and press freedom groups. Details will be made available to
respective members in the coming months.
The IFJ Human Rights and Information Officer and the Director of Projects
Oliver Money-Kyrle travelled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in November 2004 to
participate in the third Latin American and Caribbean Regional Conference on
Union Strategies to Combat Global Digital Media Challenges. The conference
marked the constitutional restructuring of the Latin American regional group,
forming the Federation of Latin American and Caribbean Journalists
(FEPALC), and called for the FEPALC to lead unions across the continent
back into the information technology race. The unanimous call of delegates at
this major regional event was for concrete and unified actions by journalist
trade unions working with civil society to put pressure on governments to
counter the drift towards more concentration and less quality in media and to
support fundamental freedoms, editorial independence and authors’ rights.
In February 2005, the IFJ Human Rights Officer along with the IFJ Colombia
Safety Office Director, Eduardo Marquez and the Latin American Director,
Gregorio Salazar, organised a national strategy meeting in Cartagena,
Colombia to form the basis for the creation of a National Federation of
Journalists to be launched in November this year. A series of trade union
development workshops are to be carried out in the run-up to the launch as
well as two safety trainings implemented by the INSI, which are to be carried
out in the most dangerous areas for journalists in the country. The IFJ survival
guide for journalists – Live News – was translated into Spanish by the IFJ
Colombia Safety Office and launched during the meeting.
IFJ Safety Fund Report
Now that the IFJ Safety Fund reserves have surpassed their target goal of 1,000,000
euros, it is vital that we use this money to support our colleagues in their time of need.
Many of you have already seen the crucial relief that our Fund has provided to
journalists most in need. However, there are many cases where our colleagues are
injured, and require medical or legal assistance, cases which we need to know about.
If we are not aware of what is happening, then we cannot help.
In this respect, the IFJ HR Officer sent a letter to all affiliates in April 2005 calling on
them to take action and to inform the IFJ headquarters in Brussels, the IFJ Regional
Officers (Caracas, Dakar, Sydney and Brussels) and the IFJ Safety Coordinators in
Colombia, Algeria and Palestine of any cases which could be aided by the IFJ
International Safety Fund.
It was noted that the following two points represent the primary phase of case
selection for the Safety Fund:
1. The IFJ Safety Fund is designed primarily as a once-off emergency assistance
fund for journalists and media staff who are injured in the line of duty,
primarily in the so-called "hot-spots" of the world and in cases where the
media employing the journalist/media staffer is not capable of covering such
costs. This assistance can be in the form of travel, medical or subsistence
2. The Safety Fund can also be used on case-by-case limited basis to assist in
legal fees for journalists/media staff who again cannot find sufficient support
from their employer. Finally, the Safety Fund can provide immediate
assistance for the families of journalists and media staff whose 'bread-winner'
has been killed and who have no means to sustain themselves.
It was proposed that a formal draft of the new Safety Fund rules
along with a specific application form should be discussed and
made available following the decision-making process at the
Executive Committee meeting in Rome this year.
It is proposed to set up a Safety and Press Freedom working
group, to have on-going on-line discussions on the development of
the Safety Fund – Fund-raising and campaigning - in order to
meet quarterly in a designated region.
New work is being carried out on the IFJ website which will include an overhaul of
the Safety Fund presentation – to incorporate a safety e-bulletin. New material is
being designed for the Safety Fund and the new brochure has recently been updated
and distributed to all affiliates in English, French and Spanish.
ANNEX TO SAFETY FUND REPORT
Cases of Assistance (October 2004 – May 2005)
Dominican Republic (€2300) / Haiti (€630)
Support was given, in cooperation with the Committee to Protect Journalists, for two
Dominican journalists and one Haitian journalist who had been receiving constant death
threats for their investigative work into crime and corruption, following the murder of
their colleague, Juan Andujar in September 2004.
On 22 April, in Cúcuta, Northern Colombia, radio journalist Jorge Corredor, director
of the Programme “El Pregón del Norte” was the subject of an attempted assassination
linked to his critical work of the municipal authorities. Unfortunately, the killer shot
his 20-year-old daughter-in-law and Corredor required financial assistance for her
The Gambia (€700)
Assistance was given to two female media staffers working with AFP correspondent,
Deida Hydara, when he was killed on December 16 2004. The money facilitated the
transportation of both colleagues to Senegal where they could receive medical
attention to gun-shot wounds after being left for over a week without care in Banjul.
Ecuador (€1000 USD)
In April 2005, the IFJ joined Amnesty International and Frontline Defenders in
supporting the emergency evacuation of radio director, Francisco Velasco who along
with his family had received numerous death threats for his critical work on crime and
On 9 May, the IFJ gave 1000USD to Tamiru Geda an Ethiopian journalist and
executive member of the IFJ Ethiopian affiliate, EFJA, who is applying for asylum in
the UK and cannot return to his country due to threats to his life. His application is
being supported by the IFJ UK and Irish affiliate, the NUJ.
The IFJ provided assistance for Svetlana Zavadskaya the wife of Belarussian
journalist Dmitry Zavadsky, who was killed in the line of duty.
Support was given for Azamat Kalman, chair of the Kyrgystan Journalists' Union,
who had his legs broken during the demonstrations in Kyrgystan in March 2005.
Sri Lanka + Indonesia (€45000)
A special Tsunami disaster fund was established and extensive support was given to
IFJ affiliates in both countries following the Tsunami disaster.
Through the courageous help of the IFJ Greek affiliate, the Journalists' Union of the
Athens Daily Newspapers, a Kurdish journalist and his son were brought to Athens
following the suicide bomb attacks in Irbil on February 1, 2004 in which 12
journalists were killed. The reporter needed a special operation to have his leg
amputated in a hospital in Athens and finally was moved to a hospital in Germany.
Support was given to the family of Maria Jose Bravo, a 26-year old reporter for La
Prensa, who was murdered by the former mayor of El Ayote while covering local
elections in Juigalpa.
On 14 August 2004, the Chadian journalist, Allahissem Miangar arrived in Dakar,
Senegal after fleeing his country for fear of prosecution by state authorities over an
article he aired on a local radio station. At the end of 2004, the 26 year-old journalist
contacted representatives of the IFJ and WAJA and the IFJ gave financial assistance
of 500 euros for emergency support.
The IFJ Safety Fund gave support to the family of Edgar Damalerio who was killed on
13 May 2002. Edgar who worked for the public radio DXKP and was an editor of the
local Zamboanga Scribe was shot at point-blank range by two unidentified individuals
riding a motorcycle. He had written numerous articles about corruption in political
and police circles in the region.
Support was given to an Afghan journalist working for Aftab weekly newspaper in
Kabul, who fled to Turkey and continues to seek political asylum through the
UNHCR process. The IFJ Turkish affiliate, the Progressive Journalists’ Association,
administered aid and played a vital role in pushing the journalist’s case through the
UNHCR and the local Turkish administration.
The IFJ worked with the UK-based Rory Peck Trust to support two Palestinian
freelance cameramen who needed special surgery in the UK following injuries they
sustained while working for Ramattan studios in the Territories.
Democratic Republic of Congo (€914)
The IFJ in conjunction with Journalists en Danger (JED) supported the cases of three
journalists under fire in Bukavu, East Congo.
Support given to family of senior journalist, Dipankar Chakroborty’s. Dipankar, an
executive editor for the Bogra-based daily Durjoy Bangla, was hacked to death near
his home in Sherpur in October 2004.
Nepal (€2500 and €500
In March 2005, the IFJ gave €2500 to the Federation of Nepalese Journalists to set up
safety nodes around the country for journalists in threat following the Royal coup.
€500 was also given to an investigative reporter who had fled to India after torture and
death threats from the Nepalese security forces and the Maoists.
Nkwazi Mhango, a Tanzanian journalist was arrested and tortured for an article he
wrote for the English-language newspaper The African on 14/02/2003. Nkwazi moved
to Kenya, but his family remained stranded in Tanzania. After his article came out the
Malawi High Commissioner phoned the Tanzanian authorities to accuse them of
“inciting the army to overthrow the president and destabilizing the situation in the
great lake zone”. Prior to this incident he had written extensively on corruption and
the need to have a new constitution in the country (Tanzania) and so his editor moved
him from home news to foreign news. His editor was also threatened.
Information and Human Rights Officer
Safety Fund Financial Report (see Finance Department Report).