Call to protect Syrian journalists and media activists in Turkey

Open Letter
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Letter addressed to the Turkish Interior Ministry, the UN Security Council, the Human Rights Council and UNESCO.

“Naji al Jerf” has been assassinated in Gaziantep City with a silencer-equipped pistol, as were “Ibrahim Abdul Kader” a member of "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS)” and his colleague “Fares Hammadi”, who was found beheaded in Turkish city of Urfa by unknown assassins.

ISIS has been threatening “Naji”, and as a result he has informed the Turkish security on the 29th of June 2015 to do something, yet no action was taken to protect him by the Turkish side.

Because of the seriousness and recurrence of assassination threats against Syrians journalists and media activists by the various parties to the Syrian conflict, the undersigned Organizations call the Turkish government to protect targeted Syrian journalists and media activists, and stresses on the necessity to deal with these threats seriously and take all security procedures to ensure safety of journalists. Local laws of Turkey state ensuring the protection of Turkish citizens and all individuals residing inside Turkish territory.

Furthermore, Article 79 of Additional Protocol I to the 1949 Geneva Conventions emphasizes that civilian journalists who perform their duties in armed conflict must be respected and protected from all forms of deliberate attack.

The undersigned Organizations assert that Turkish government should send a clear message showing clearly and unequivocally that threats to journalists and media workers are unacceptable, and will not pass without account, by taking actions that prevent the impunity of the perpetrators this violations, or the registration these operations against the unknown.

We call on all signatory States of the Charter of the United Nations bodies and its agencies to act immediately to ensure the protection and security of journalists ,media activists and associated personnel, and take all necessary procedures to avoid impunity for the perpetrators of crimes , in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, especially resolution 1738 that was adopted by the Security Council, in 23/12/2006, and resolution 2222 that was adopted by the Security Council on 05.27.2015.

It is a terrible tragedy for the entire international community and humanity to allow those working on publicizing events and facts from Syria, and develop the public debate to die due to their work. This is a result of the continuing conflict and the weakness of local and international protection and a continuation of extremist mobilization based on intolerance of others and denying rights to free speech. Such practices are done by all parties in Syrian conflict, in particular the Syrian government and the organization of the Islamic State "ISIS".

The hot line of the International Committee of the Red Cross is at the disposal of journalists who face any difficulties during armed conflict. It’s purpose is to provide protection and required assistance, and can be accessed through the telephone number +41792173285 or the nearest ICRC office.
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