Continuing its campaign to defend press freedom in the face of political or criminal attacks, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the murder of yet another journalist, a reporter from the Dominican Republic gunned down just after completing a broadcast on a provincial crime wave. Juan Andújar, a correspondent with the Santo Domingo-based daily Listín Diario, was shot dead after a radio broadcast on a crime wave that has shaken the southern town of Azua. “By taking a stand against the gangs waging terror, Juan Andújar was carrying out his duty as a journalist and a citizen,” UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said. “Juan Andújar breached the silence, and we in turn must speak out. His killers must not benefit from our silence. “A journalist did not want criminal acts to go unpunished and we must not allow the worst of crimes – the murder of this journalist – to go unpunished,” he added, calling for everything possible to be done to bring those responsible to justice. Mr. Matsuura’s condemnation was just the latest of many he has issued so far this year on the murder of journalists around the world.
“Our health teams in Syria are finding increasing evidence of a typhoid outbreak among civilians from Yarmouk, in Damascus,” said UNRWA Spokesperson Chris Gunness in a statement. “Today we saw 320 patients and among them were three suspected cases of typhoid. This brings the total figure of suspected cases to 90. That is 90 too many,” he added. UNRWA has been providing vital healthcare to civilians displaced from Yarmouk camp, where the lives of Palestinian refugees continue to be threatened by the conflict in the region. A situation update issued today by the agency said as high summer temperatures and regular interruptions in water and food supplies continue to affect the area, communicable illness remains a source of profound vulnerability for civilians. “The vulnerability of civilians in Yarmouk remains of the highest severity,” Mr. Gunness warned. “UNRWA is deeply concerned that without access, the most basic humanitarian needs of Palestinian and Syrian civilians, including many children, continue to be left unmet.” He added that today’s mission was conducted with the facilitation of the Syrian authorities. Meanwhile, UNRWA is continuing to appeal for donors to increase their support. Only 34 per cent of funds needed for this year’s Syria Crisis Appeal have been received, while more than 95 per cent of Palestinian refugees rely on the UN for food, water and healthcare.