Armed Conflict: Journalists

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 7th June 2007.

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Photo of Don Foster Don Foster Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what (a) correspondence and (b) discussions her Department has had since the adoption by the United Nations Security Council of Resolution 1738, on the protection of journalists in armed conflict, with States Parties to the Geneva Conventions, in order to ensure that (i) all necessary action is taken to search for persons who have committed, or ordered others to commit, breaches of those conventions and (ii) such people are tried before their own courts so that they are handed to another concerned state; and if she will make a statement.

Photo of Kim Howells Kim Howells Minister of State (Middle East), Foreign & Commonwealth Office

The Government are committed to promoting freedom of expression and the media worldwide. Journalists, media professionals and associated personnel must be provided with the protection that they need under domestic and international law.

In addition to tabling, with our EU partners, UN Security Council Resolution 1738 in December 2006, the UK will continue to work with partners to support efforts to promote and strengthen respect for international law, in particular in this area. An essential part of this is our strong support for the international criminal tribunals, including the International Criminal Court, which are a key part of international efforts to combat the crimes of most concern to the international community. We expect that the Red Cross Conference in Geneva in November will amongst other things discuss reaffirmation of international humanitarian law.

The UK regularly speaks out when journalists are murdered, attacked or harassed. We raise cases with foreign governments, urging compliance with international law. For example, we engaged with the Russian Federation following the death of Anna Politkovskaya.

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