UNESCO chief condemns murder of Iraqi educator CBS crew members

The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today condemned the assassination of a senior Iraqi Education Ministry official and denounced the growing number of attacks against educators in the country while also deploring the killing two CBS television crew members, the latest media professionals to die while covering the war.“I categorically condemn the murder of Sabah al-Jaf,” UNESCO Director-General Kochiro Matsuura said in a statement. “The escalating violence against Education Ministry officials and academics is intolerable. By targeting educators, the perpetrators are of such violence are undermining the reconstruction of Iraq and the future of the country and the democracy.”Mr. al-Jaf and one of his guards were killed by unidentified gunmen in the Al-Karradha district of Baghdad on May 22. Another of his guards is reported to have been seriously wounded in the attack. According to the Geneva-based Study and Research Centre for the Arab and Mediterranean World, nearly 200 academics have been killed in Iraq since 2003 and thousands have been forced into exile. Last month, the UNESCO Director-General appealed to the international community to support Iraqi academics and intellectuals.Meanwhile, in a separate statement, Mr. Matsuura also deplored the killing of two CBS television crew members in Baghdad and called for improved safety for journalists in Iraq.“I urge all authorities concerned to spare no effort in seeking to improve the safety of journalists, media workers and support staff committed to the fundamental human right of freedom of expression in Iraq,” he said.CBS cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan died when a United States military unit came under attack Monday. Both Mr. Douglas and Mr. Brolan were accompanying the US military unit.According to the International Federation of Journalists, as many as 127 reporters have been killed in Iraq since 2003.