Karen Phillips reports on the latest research from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): ‘Journalists in Exile 2009’.
“Sri Lankan journalists flee under severe pressure in the past year. Iraq and Somalia, two deadly countries for the press, also rank high in numbers of journalists forced into exile. Hundreds of journalists have been driven into exile this decade.”
“Nearly 400 journalists have been forced into exile worldwide since 2001, when CPJ began compiling detailed data. Illustrating the extraordinary dangers facing these journalists at home, more than 330 of them remain in exile today.”
“The current situation is dramatic and most journalists seeking asylum – who mainly come from Eritrea, Iran, Iraq or Sri Lanka – have difficulty finding refuge,” the letter says. “The long waits in the offices of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the almost systematic refusal of western embassies to grant them visas force the great majority to risk their lives by resorting to illegal immigration methods.
“For this reason, there is an urgent need not only to recognise the refugee status of journalists in your country seeking asylum but also to facilitate procedures for protected entry and emergency resettlement.”