Impunity in Murders and Disappearances

Resolution presented to the IAPA

WHEREAS since the October 2019 General Assembly to date nine journalists have been murdered – one each in Guatemala, Paraguay, Colombia and Haiti; two in Honduras and three Mexico, for motives that would be connected to their work in the press, and there continues missing a journalist in Peru

WHEREAS María Elena Ferral, correspondent for the Diario de Xalapa of the Mexican Editorial Organization (OEM) and director of the digital newspaper Quinto Poder, Veracruz, Mexico, was murdered on March 30, 2020

WHEREAS Bryan Leonel Guerra, news presenter of the cable system TL-COM Chiquimula and vice president of the Social Communicators Network of Chiquimula, Guatemala, was murdered on February 27, 2020

WHEREAS Lourenço "Leo" Veras, director and owner of the Web site Porã News, Pona Porã, a Brazilian journalist, was murdered in Paraguay in the border town of Pedro Juan Caballero on February 12, 2020

WHEREAS Fidel Ávila Gómez, speaker and manager of radio KeBuena Huetamo, Huetamo, Michoacán, Mexico, went missing on November 29, 2019 and his body was found on January 8, 2020

WHEREAS Álvaro Ruiz, speaker and manager of the Pichucalco 102.1 FM radio station, Chiapas, Mexico, was found dead on January 5, 2020

WHEREAS José Arita, host of the program "La hora de la verdad" on Channel 12, Puerto Cortés, Honduras, was murdered on November 25, 2019

WHEREAS Buenaventura Calderón, host of the daily news broadcast "Ecos de la Mosquitia" on Catholic radio station Kupia Kumi, Puerto Lempira, Honduras, was murdered on November 1, 2019

WHEREAS Javier Córdoba Chaguendo, who ran a musical program on radio station Planeta Stereo in Llorente, Nariño, Colombia, was murdered on October 18, 2019

WHEREAS Néhémie Joseph, reporter of Radio Panic FM and correspondent of Radio Mega in Mirebalais, Haiti, was found dead on October 10, 2019

WHEREAS Daysi Mina Huamán, a journalist with cable channel VRAEM, Ayacucho, Peru, remains missing since January 26, 2020

WHEREAS in Colombia there were prescribed in this period seven murders: of Rodolfo Julio Torres, October 21, 1999; Alberto Sánchez Tovar, November 28, 1999; Luis Alberto Rincón, November 28, 1999; Pablo Emilio Medina Larrota, December 3, 1999; Fabio Leonardo Restrepo, February 6, 2000; Jhon Jairo Restrepo, February 6, 2000, and María Helena Salinas Gallego, March 5, 2000; and that there are to be prescribed another five this year: Carlos José Restrepo Rocha, September 7, 2000; Juan Camilo Restrepo Guerra, October 31, 2000; Gustavo Ruiz Cantillo, November 15, 2000; Guillermo León Agudelo, November 30, 2000, and Alfredo Abad López, December 13, 2000

WHEREAS murders and physical aggression constitute the most severe form of restricting freedom of expression

WHEREAS impunity is the principal incentive of violent people and prescription of legal actions in cases of murder and disappearance of journalists has serious consequences for press freedom

WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec establishes "Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly."

The IAPA resolves

to condemn the murders of Bryan Leonel Guerra in Guatemala, Lourenço "Leo" Veras in Brazil, María Elena Ferral, Álvaro Ruiz and Fidel Ávila Gómez in Mexico, José Arita and Buenaventura Calderón in Honduras, Javier Córdoba Chaguendo in Colombia and Néhémie Joseph in Haiti, and the disappearance of Daysi Mina Huamán in Peru

to insist to the governments of Guatemala, Paraguay, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Haiti and Peru that they comply with their responsibility to speedily investigate, identify all those materially and intellectually responsible and apply the corresponding punishments of those involved in these serious crimes

to ask the authorities of Guatemala, Paraguay, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, Haiti and Peru to guarantee effective mechanisms of protection for journalists, that they have the necessary technical and human personnel and the economic resources that enable them to comply with their mission in an opportune and effective manner

to stress that the murder and disappearance of journalists and news media workers constitutes an extreme form of censorship and that lack of justice and impunity encourage other acts of violence, leading to self-censorship as a mechanism of defense and giving rise to an inhibiting effect in the exercise of freedom of expression

to denounce the absence of justice in the cases that were prescribed and those that are to be prescribed, and to urge the authorities of Colombia to adopt measures to prevent that these criminal processes lapse

to reiterate that solidarity and timely denunciation is one of the main antidotes to counteract violence and murder of journalists.