The recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Agnes Callamard, into the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi makes for horrific and shocking reading.
An Interactive Dialogue with Ms. Callamard took place at the UN Human Rights Council on 26 June, covering all issues within her mandate. Ireland supported an EU statement at that session welcoming Ms. Callamard's report, condemning the killing in the strongest possible terms, and stressing that full accountability must be achieved. The EU statement called on Saudi Arabia to disclose all information available and to fully cooperate with all investigations into the killing.
Ireland also took the opportunity to make a national statement in this dialogue, emphasising that the protection of journalists and media workers is essential in protecting and promoting the freedom of expression. Specifically on the death of Mr. Khashoggi, Ireland supported the report’s focus on accountability, and joined calls that those responsible for the killing must be held to account.
Ireland, from the beginning, has supported calls for thorough, credible and transparent investigation into the killing of Mr Khashoggi, which must get to the facts of the case and ensure full accountability for all those responsible. During the last Universal Periodic Review of Saudi Arabia's human rights record at the HRC in November 2018, Ireland raised concerns regarding the case. In March 2019 Ireland signed a joint statement at the HRC condemning the killing, and calling on Saudi Arabia to disclose all information available and to fully cooperate with all investigations into the killing, including the inquiry by the Special Rapporteur.
I met with the Saudi Ambassador in October 2018 and February 2019 and stressed the need for a full and transparent investigation to establish the truth.
Freedom of expression is a fundamental right under international human rights law and journalists play a vital role in holding governments to account. In September 2018, Ireland co-sponsored a resolution on ‘Safety of Journalists’ at the HRC, condemning all violence against journalists and urging all states to ensure accountability for such attacks.