RSF calls for emergency UN Security Council meeting on Israeli violations of Resolution 2222 on protecting journalists
After the killing of Hamza Wael Dahdouh and Moustafa Thuraya on 7 January joined the long list of Israeli crimes against Palestinian journalists covering the war in the Gaza Strip during the past three months, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the United Nations Security Council to enforce its Resolution 2222 (2015) on the protection of journalists.
The terrible toll of journalists killed and injured and media offices destroyed in the Gaza Strip since 7 October has clearly demonstrated Israel's failure to comply with its obligations under applicable international law, in particular, UN Security Council Resolution 2222. Adopted on 27 May 2015 during a session attended by RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire, this resolution is the cornerstone of international law on the protection of journalists in armed conflicts.
Resolution 2222 requires states to protect journalists not only as members of the civilian population but also because of their particular social function. It requires that measures be taken to protect “journalists, media professionals, and associated personnel” in the field. By extension, the resolution protects the freedom of war reporters to cover what is happening, and everyone’s right to news and information in war time.
Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, Israeli strikes have killed at least 81 journalists in the Gaza Strip, of whom at least 18 in the course of their work or because of the work as journalists. When not killing reporters, these strikes have destroyed or damaged buildings housing media outlets, including Agence France-Presse on 5 November and at least 50 other media, according to the Palestinian press syndicate.
“The United Nations Security Council cannot ignore the massacre of journalists in Gaza. By unanimously adopting Resolution 2222 in 2015, it made a historic decision that rose to the challenge. It now has a duty to convene an emergency meeting specially dedicated to the protection of Palestinian journalists. It must ensure Israel’s compliance with Resolution 2222 (2015).
The Security Council must adopt urgent measures to ensure that journalists have the protection that their mission requires and must ask Israel to implement the following measures:
- give firm and explicit instructions to the armed forces to comply strictly with its obligations under international humanitarian law on the protection of journalists;
- open the gates of the Rafah crossing point in order to allow international media to enter the Gaza Strip and allow the evacuation of those Palestinian journalists who want to leave;
- define shelter areas for journalists who are covering the war from within the Gaza Strip;
- facilitate the delivery of protective gear and professional equipment for journalists who are continuing to work in and around the war zone.