Acting on the initiative of Austria, the United Nations Human Rights Council calls for the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained journalists worldwide

Journalists are at risk of persecution and violence when carrying out their professional activities. Proposed by Austria, a resolution that supports the safety and protection of journalists worldwide has now been unanimously adopted by the United Nations

Foreign Minister Kurz: “Committed to supporting freedom of the press at international level”

Almost every week a journalist dies. This year alone, the number of journalists who lost their lives as a result of carrying out their professional activities has already reached 42. The International Press Institute (IPI) assumes that since the year 2000 more than 900 journalists have died because of their work. The number of those who have been attacked or threatened due to their work is many times higher. 

"Around the globe, the number of journalists who fall victim to attacks, arbitrary detentions or even murder has increased substantially. Austria thus supports the protection and safety of journalists at international level and speaks out in international fora against the increasing restrictions being placed on freedom of the press," Foreign Minister Kurz pointed out. 

For Austria, the promotion of the protection and safety of journalists is one of the key human rights priorities at international level. In the context of the UN Human Rights Council, within the EU, the United Nations General Assembly, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and UNESCO, Austria’s diplomats have for many years now worked tirelessly in support of protection and safety of journalists around the globe, including improvement of their working environment.

Protection and safety of journalists: Resolution introduced by Austria unanimously adopted

Austria’s commitment to promoting the safety of journalists has now met with particular success. At its meeting in Geneva on 29 September, a comprehensive resolution on the safety of journalists introduced by Austria was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council – unanimously. This resolution is by far the strongest text that the UN Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly have ever adopted on this topic.

The resolution very clearly highlights the risks that journalists face in carrying out their professional activities and calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all arbitrarily detained and arrested journalists. It condemns the forced closure of and attacks on media companies in the strongest possible terms. The text also highlights the special risks faced by journalists in this digital age. It furthermore calls on all states to ensure the protection of journalistic sources, i.e. safety of journalists’ sources of information. 

"The fact that the resolution was co-sponsored by more than 80 states and adopted by consensus, underlines its significance and adds to its importance. After this latest success, we will remain committed to supporting the safety of journalists both in the UN Human Rights Council as well as in other international fora," Foreign Minister Kurz stressed.

Austria in the UN Human Rights Council

Austria’s support of journalists in the UN Human Rights Council already goes back a long way: A motion introduced by Austria was adopted by the UNHRC as early as 2012. The current resolution was preceded by long rounds of discussion; eventually the open and transparent way in which Austria conducted the relevant negotiations was positively received by the other states’ representatives – which is reflected most impressively by their unanimous adoption of the resolution.

The Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council is the United Nation’s central forum for the protection and promotion of human rights. It is mandated with addressing and dealing with human rights violations as well as with contributing towards the prevention of such violations. 



Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs
Press Department

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