12 May 2022
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh allegedly by the Israeli Defence Force on Wednesday 11 May 2022.
Akleh was shot in the head while on assignment in Jenin, covering Israeli raids on Jenin in the occupied West Bank. Another Al Jazeera journalist, Ali Samoudi, was also wounded after being shot in the back.
The Director-General of DIRCO Zane Dangor has said, “The targeting of journalists in the occupied territories, and in conflict zones like Ukraine and Afghanistan, appears to be part of a pattern of silencing the free press, and is an outright contravention of international law. In a situation of occupation, protest action is one of the few ways in which Palestinians can make their voices heard.
International human rights law obligates the occupying power to allow for the freedom of expression and protests. In other conflict zones, civilians and other non-combatants must be protected in keeping with the Principle of Distinction and other protective measures of the Geneva Conventions.”
The ability of journalists to cover events as they take place is essential, and efforts to intimidate and assassinate members of the media cannot be allowed to continue with impunity.