MANILA, Philippines?The head of the United Nations agency tasked with defending press freedom asked the government Saturday to make full use of its resources to bring to justice the perpetrators of the November 23 attack on an election caravan in Maguindanao that left more than 60 people, including journalists, dead.
?This monstrous crime must not go unpunished,? said Irina Bokova, director-general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in a statement posted on the UN website.
?I condemn this outrage and urge the Government of the Philippines to act swiftly, using all the resources at its disposal to bring the perpetrators to justice,? she stressed.
She said the victims and their families deserve swift justice from the government.
?The barbaric killings of the people in the convoy?journalists and citizens alike?were clearly an attack against democracy and democratic processes. Furthermore, the killing of journalists violates the rights of the Philippine people to be freely and fairly informed of political developments,? she said.
The journalists were travelling with politicians and political supporters who were to file nomination papers for a gubernatorial candidate in Maguindanao when the convoy was ambushed by armed men identified with the Ampatuan clan.
Earlier this week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon deplored this ?heinous crime? and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.