No to Impunity


A report published by the Gulf Centre for Human Rights to mark the International Day to End Impunity

02 November 2020

Murders & other serious violations continue against MENA journalists

Journalists in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region continue to face grave violations of their civil and human rights, including murder by governments or armed groups, usually with total impunity. Countries such as Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen continue to be classified among the most dangerous places for journalists.

During 2019 and into 2020, citizens in Iraq, Lebanon, Algeria, Iran, Sudan, and Egypt took to the streets in massive protests, demanding their basic rights, the elimination of corruption and comprehensive political reform. They were confronted by security forces and armed groups with lethal force in Iraq, where hundreds of peaceful protesters lost their lives and thousands were injured. They have been suppressed in other countries to varying degrees.

The protesters have achieved a number of their goals in some of these countries. In Sudan, in April 2019, the army announced the removal of President Omar Al-Bashir from power and the start of a two-year transitional period after the longest period of rule by a Sudanese president, lasting for 30 years. In Algeria, in April 2019, Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika presented a letter to the Constitutional Council, announcing the termination of his mandate as president, after 20 years in power. In Iraq, in October 2019, Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi formally resigned. In Lebanon, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his resignation in November 2019. These resignations came as a result of the widespread popular movements that swept through these countries and is still continuing in some of them, such as Iraq and Lebanon.

In all these protests and those of the previous years, journalists were at the forefront facing all kinds of dangers, including murder, while they were doing their professional work to document these watershed moments in the history of the peoples of the region. Sadly, many journalists lost their lives due to their coverage in areas of armed conflict such as Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Syria, while others lost their lives for covering issues related to the rampant corruption in countries throughout the region, or for daring to exercise their right to freedom of expression.

This report presents the photos of a group of journalists who have sacrificed their lives for freedom of speech, so they must be honoured and memorialized.

In most of their cases, there has been total impunity for those responsible for abusing or murdering the journalists mentioned in this report, particularly for the masterminds of murders such as Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia. As we mark the International Day to End Impunity on 02 November 2020, we again call for justice in their cases.

To read the full report, click the download button above.