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U.N. condemns terror attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo

"This is an attack against freedom of expression and freedom of the press - the two pillars of democracy,” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said. File photo  

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed outrage over the “cold-blooded” and “unjustifiable” terrorist attack against French magazine Charlie Hebdo, with the UN Security Council underlining the need to bring perpetrators of terrorism to justice.

The U.N. Chief and the powerful Security Council were joined by other U.N. bodies and the President of the General Assembly in strongly condemning the attack that killed 12 people, including the top editor, prominent cartoonists and police officers.

“I want to express my outrage at the despicable attack today against the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. It was a horrendous, unjustifiable and cold-blooded crime,” the U.N. Chief said.

“This act of violence can in no way be justified. This is an attack against freedom of expression and freedom of the press - the two pillars of democracy,” Mr. Ban said.

Masked gunmen opened fire with assault rifles in the office of Charlie Hebdo in central Paris, killing four of the magazine’s cartoonists and its editor.

The unidentified gunmen then fled the scene, exchanging shots with police in the street, killing two officers.

In remarks delivered during a New Year visit to the U.N. Correspondents Association, the Secretary-General extended his deepest condolences to the families of the victims, stressed his solidarity with the Government and people of France and said he trusted the French authorities to do all in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice quickly.

“This horrific attack is meant to divide. We must not fall into that trap,” he said. “This is a moment for solidarity.”

“Around the world, we must stand strong for freedom of expression and tolerance and stand against forces of division and hate,” he said.

The 15-nation Security Council said in a press statement that it condemns in the strongest terms the barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack against the French magazine.

The members of the Security Council “strongly condemned this intolerable terrorist act targeting journalists and a newspaper” and underlined the need to bring perpetrators of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice.

“The members of the Security Council reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed,” the statement said.

Mr. Ban’s comments were echoed by other senior officials from across the Organisation, with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, also speaking out against what he described as an “appalling and ruthless attack”, while underlining the importance of arresting and punishing those responsible and refraining from attaching blame to any wider group.

UNESCO lowered the flag to half-mast at its Paris headquarters in solidarity with France, and in respect for those killed and injured.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 3:06:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/un-condemns-terror-attack-on-french-magazine-charlie-hebdo/article6767580.ece

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