ARTICLE 19 (press release)

ARTICLE 19, the UK based international human rights organisation, and 33 other international human rights organisations called for an immediate, thorough, and independent investigation to Israeli government into the killing of veteran Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in an attack in the West Bank on 11 May that also left another journalist wounded.

The rights organisations demand that the government of Israel and all other states fulfil their responsibility to ensure that crimes against journalists are fully investigated and prosecuted.

In a statement sent to the media, Faruq Faisel, regional director for ARTICLE 19 South Asia said, "Killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is the continuation of high rate of attack against Palestinian journalists. Her killing apparently constitutes a war crime. Evidence suggests Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in targeted attack by Israeli forces. Israeli government should investigate the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in full compliance with the Minnesota Protocol on the investigation of potentially unlawful death and bring the perpetrator (s) into justice."

States have a duty to investigate attacks on journalists promptly, thoroughly, and independently, and to prosecute those responsible. This obligation is well established in international and regional human rights instruments, as well as in numerous UN protocols and resolutions, requiring states to provide effective remedy for human rights abuses.

Israel is among the many states around the world that are failing to meet this obligation. A vast majority of murders of journalists go unresolved, which has fueled a culture of rampant impunity for violence and crimes against the press on a global level.

The killing of Shireen Abu Akleh represents a particularly egregious attack on the press, not least because of credible reports that Abu Akleh and other journalists were intentionally targeted by Israeli forces, but also in light of growing concerns over impunity for crimes against journalists and other grave human rights abuses by Israel in the occupied Palestine territory. The Israeli government’s recent announcement that it will not investigate this killing only adds to these concerns.

The rights organisations demand concrete action by states and other duty bearers, including international governmental organisations (IGOs) with a specific mandate in this area, to fulfil their duty to protect the safety of journalists and to ensure that attacks against the press are not carried out with impunity.