UNESCO Director-General calls for investigation into killing of 19th journalist

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova today called for an investigation into the killing of Erick Martínez Ávila, a journalist and gay rights activist.

“I condemn the murder of Erick Martínez Ávila,” declared the Director-General. “I am deeply concerned about this second journalist killed in Honduras in a month and call on the authorities to bring to justice the perpetrators of this crime against the basic human right of freedom of expression. Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democracy and rule of law and it is essential that journalists be allowed to contribute freely to political and social debate.”

Erick Martínez Ávila, 32 was a spokesman for Kukulcán, an organization that defends lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

According to Reporters Without Borders, Ávila’s body was found on 7 May, two days after he had been reported missing. He is said to have been strangled.

​            Nineteen journalists and media workers, including Erick Martínez Ávila, have been killed in Honduras since 2009. They are listed on the dedicated webpage, UNESCO Remembers Assassinated Journalists.

​            In 2010, UNESCO supported training workshops in legal aspects of freedom of expression, access to information and election reporting for 140 journalists and media officers in the Honduran departments of Santa Rosa de Copán and Danli.