The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Security Council have deplored the apparent murder of a Japanese journalist Kenji Goto by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), despite the Council's demand for his immediate release.
A statement to the press issued by the 15-member Council earlier today said that this crime "heinous and cowardly crime" is, yet again, a tragic reminder of the increasing dangers journalists and others face every day in Syria.
It also demonstrates the brutality of ISIL, which is responsible for thousands of abuses against the Syrian and Iraqi people, added the Council.
Mr. Goto's beheading was confirmed by the group in a video message released on Saturday, 31 January. Last week, the terror group released a video depicting the murder of Japanese citizen Haruna Yukawa.
In a separate statement issued last night, the Secretary-General also condemned the “barbaric” murder of Kenji Goto, saying that his death underscores the violence that so many have been subjected to in Iraq and Syria. Mr. Ban expressed deepest condolences to Mr. Goto's family, as well as the people and Government of Japan. He reiterated his call for unconditional release of all hostages held by Daesh and others.
Like the UN chief, Security Council members expressed their deep sympathy to Mr. Goto's family and to the people of Japan. The members underlined the need to bring perpetrators of acts of terrorism to justice. Those responsible for the killing of Kenji Goto must be held accountable, they stressed, urging all States to cooperate with Japan.
ISIL must be defeated and the violence and hatred it espouses stamped out, Council members stressed, emphasizing that such “acts of barbarism perpetrated by ISIL do not intimidate them but rather stiffen their resolve.”
The Security Council demanded the immediate, safe and unconditional release of all those who are kept hostage by ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other groups associated with Al-Qaida. They also recalled that, in accordance with international humanitarian law, journalists, media professionals and associated personnel engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict are considered as civilians and shall be respected and protected as such.
They also recalled that ISIL is included on the Al-Qaida Sanctions List and is thus subject to the asset freeze and arms embargo in resolution 2161 (2014). Any individual or entity that provides financial or material support to the group, including the provision of arms or recruits, is eligible to be added to the Al-Qaida Sanctions List and subject to sanctions measures.
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.