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Education unionists add their voice in defence of freedom of expression

Education International has joined the International Federation of Journalists and supported the calls made by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urging the Governments of Saudi Arabia and Turkey to investigate the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Education International (EI) Executive Board (ExBo), during its 51st meeting held in Brussels, Belgium, from 16-18 October, adopted a statement “EI in defence of freedom of expression”.

“Freedom of association, assembly and speech are indispensable components of human rights, democracy and of the rule of law, and journalists are key to ensuring the accountability and fidelity of these principles,” the statement reminds.

The EI ExBo members also note that Jamal Khashoggi had been critical of Saudi policies at home, denouncing imprisonment of political protestors, including women leading the cause of social reform; and abroad, particularly criticising the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen which has caused a grave humanitarian crisis.

They go on insisting that “this worrying disappearance follows the murder of several journalists and human rights activists in different parts of the world, including in Europe. This situation illustrates a general crackdown against freedom of association, assembly and the freedom of expression.”

EI reminds all Governments of their duty to take measures to prevent torture, enforced disappearances and other serious human rights violations and to investigate allegations of acts constituting these crimes, and to bring to justice those suspected of committing them.

Education International will also join the European Federation of Journalists/International Federation of Journalists in pressing the European institutions to improve the current draft directive on the protection of whistleblowers, raise awareness about the Council of Europe’s Recommendation on the protection and safety of journalists.