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Call for end to impunity on 16th anniversary of Colombian journalist's murder

The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today (April 16, 2014) recalled the murder of Colombian journalist Nelson Carvajal on the 16th anniversary of his assassination and urged the South American country's authorities to identify the perpetrators – a call the organization has been making since it began investigating the case in 2001.

On April 16, 1998 a hit man fatally shot Carvajal, 37, seven times. He was a teacher and journalist with RCN Radio's Radio Sur in the town of Pitalito, Huila province.

The chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Claudio Paolillo, expressed regret that Carvajal's murder has still not been solved and he said he feared that “this crime would join a list of another six that fall under the statute of limitations in Colombia.”

The IAPA submitted the Carvajal case to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2002, after carrying out an exhaustive investigation through its Rapid Response Unit in Colombia, through which it uncovered a large number of procedural irregularities.

Paolillo, editor of the Montevideo, Uruguay, weekly Búsqueda, said that the IAPA's concern about impunity is discussed in the report that the organization presented at its recent meeting in Barbados which declared that “in Colombia 142 crimes against journalists continue to go unpunished.”

With regard to violence unleashed against the press the IAPA also criticized the fact that in Mexico its Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists is ineffective and non-operational, and at the same time it urged the governments of Honduras and Guatemala to comply with their commitment – made to IAPA's international delegations – to set up governmental systems to ensure the safety of reporters.

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