Freedom of Expression

Press Release 163/07


Washington, D.C., March 21, 2007 - The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the OAS deplores the murder of Miguel Pérez Julca, journalist of Radio Éxitos, perpetrated in the city of Jaen, region of Cajamarca, in northern Peru. The Office of the Special Rapporteur urges the Peruvian authorities to investigate this killing promptly and effectively in order to determine the circumstances of his death, to determine whether this murder was perpetrated as a result of the journalistic activities of the victim, and to duly sanction those responsible

According to the information provided by communication media and non governmental organizations, in the night of March 16 Mr. Pérez Julca was returning to his house accompanied by his wife and his two children, when two individuals in a motorcycle shot him twice in the head and ran away. His wife was hit in the knee. The journalist had said before that he had been followed by persons in a white car. In his coverage he had accused the mayor of Jaen of a bad administration and informed about local corruption and citizen insecurity.

The Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression, Ignacio J. Álvarez, expressed his preoccupation. He indicated that “Murder is the most abhorrent and brutal method to restrict freedom of expression. We call Peruvian authorities to act with due diligence to investigate the facts and judge those responsible. The lack of an effective investigation can imply the international responsibility of States determined by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights”.

The Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression recalls that in accordance with the American Convention on Human Rights, the States have the duty to prevent, investigate, and sanction any violation of the rights recognized therein. Principle 9 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression of the IACHR states that "[t]he murder, kidnapping, intimidation of and/or threats to social communicators, as well as the material destruction of communications media violate the fundamental rights of individuals and strongly restrict freedom of expression. It is the duty of the state to prevent and investigate such occurrences, to punish their perpetrators and to ensure that victims receive due compensation."

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