UNESCO chief backs G8 call on Iran to respect human rights

3 July 2009 – The head of the United Nations agency tasked with upholding freedom of expression and press freedom today voiced his strong support for the recent call issued by the foreign ministers of the Group of Eight (G8) nations on Iran to respect fundamental human rights.

Protesters have taken to the streets following the 12 June presidential poll, which opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi has said was fixed in favour of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has been concerned over infringements of press freedom in the country in recent weeks.

According to a press release issued by the agency, restrictions have been imposed on both domestic and foreign journalists, while some reporters are said to have been arrested and access to the Internet limited, with some sites being shut down.

“Everywhere in the world, and in all circumstances, freedom of expression and press freedom are basic rights. There can be no justification to slighting them,” Mr. Matsuura .

Last week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed for an immediate end to the arrests, threats … >>>

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