harassed, killed and intimidated by Government authorities, members of organized crime and armed groups “in countries that are nominally at peace.”
Numerous events are being held around the world marking the day, including a two-day event in Medellin, Colombia, organized by UNESCO with tributes, seminars and an award ceremony for the prestigious 2007 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
To mark the tenth anniversary of the Prize, the day is being commemorated by UNESCO in Medellin, the hometown of Guillermo Cano, the newspaper publisher for whom the award is named. Mr. Cano was assassinated 20 years ago for criticizing the activities of powerful drug barons in his country.
For the first time in its 10-year history, the honour has been posthumously bestowed. Mr. Matsuura will present the award to the Illya Politkovskaya, son of the winner, Anna Politkovskaya.
Ms. Politkovskaya, esteemed Russian journalist and outspoken human rights campaigner, was murdered outside her Moscow apartment last October. Particularly well-known for her coverage of the conflict in Chechnya as a columnist for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, her work was recognized worldwide.
At UN Headquarters, UNESCO also held discussions on issues relating to the nexus of press freedom, journalists’ safety and impunity, as well as on the role of the Internet as it pertains to free speech.
Meanwhile, in Juba, Sudan, UNESCO has joined forces with the UN Development Agency (UNDP), the Union of Journalists of Southern Sudan and others for a two-day celebration of World Press Freedom Day. A workshop was held yesterday, in which participants conferred on the obstacles to the freedoms of the press and expression, while today a procession was held from Peace Square to the grave of John Garang, the first Vice-President and ex-southern rebel leader who died in a tragic helicopter crash in 2005.
Disarmament in full swing in DR Congo, UN mission reports
3 May - Progress is being made in disarmament efforts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC) as the notorious leader of one of the Central African country’s largest militias announced that
500 more of his fighters will surrender their weapons this week, the United Nations peacekeeping
mission in the country said today.
These fighters loyal to Peter Karim, who is the commander of the Front des Nationalistes and
Intégrationnistes (FNI), will also reintegrate into civilian life, UN spokesperson Marie Okabe told
reporters in New York. In February, Mr. Karim ordered the surrender and disarmament of 170 of his troops, including many children, while demanding amnesty.
“I want peace, as does the DRC Government,” he told the mission, known as MONUC, in a rare interview in February. However, he stated that neither he nor his senior deputies would surrender without a definite official pardon. “If an amnesty was guaranteed for us, I would be willing to surrender tomorrow.” MONUC also stated that a joint UN-Congolese Army unit has verified that 320 people have been disarmed at a naval base in Mbandaka, the capital of