November 23: The 2011 International Day to End Impunity

Friday, November 18, 2011
Impunity: without punishment, without consequences. The International Day to End Impunity is a call to action to demand justice for those who have been killed for exercising their right to freedom of expression and shed light on the issue of impunity. Every day around the world journalists, musicians, artists, politicians, and free expression advocates are being silenced, often with no investigation or consequences to their persecutors.

Watch a video about the day

To mark the first-ever International Day to End Impunity on November 23, 2011, IFEX and its members are putting the spotlight on 23 cases of impunity. On each of these 23 days, between November 1 and November 23, an individual was murdered for exercising their right to free expression, and their killers remain free. For each case, we invite you to write a letter to the relevant authorities, demanding that these cases be immediately opened and investigated.

Tara Singh Hayer (November 15, 1936–November 18, 1998)

While you may be familiar with cases of impunity in other regions, you may be surprised to see a Canadian case among them. Tara Singh Hayer was the publisher of the Indo-Canadian Times, who was shot and killed on November 18, 1998, in Surrey, British Columbia. Already paralyzed from an assassination attempt 10 years earlier, Hayer was shot to death outside his home. A week before his death, he said ominously, "If they get me, they get me. There's nothing I can do and I'm not going to stop my work." Hayer's murder appears to be connected to his investigation into the 1985 bombing of an Air India flight, which resulted in the deaths of all 329 passengers and crew. Hayer had made statements to police that would incriminate members of a militant Sikh separatist group. Police were accused of failing to provide Hayer with adequate protection, mismanaging his case, and dismissing the possibility of a link between Hayer's death and the bombing. Hayer's case is the first and only case of a journalist murdered specifically for his work in Canada. It remains unsolved. TAKE ACTION: Join us on November 18 to demand justice in the case of Tara Singh Hayer. We also invite you to send letters for each of the other 22 featured cases, to let the authorities know that we will not forget these individuals and their stories.

How else can you get involved?

VOTE: In October, the International Day to End Impunity campaign announced a poster contest inviting individuals to contribute posters representing impunity and the campaign for justice. Tell us which posters you think best depict the issue of impunity. Like our page, and Like each of the posters you are voting for. Voting ends on November 21, and the 10 posters with the most votes will qualify for the finals, to be selected by the IFEX Clearing House staff. FACEBOOK: Like us on Facebook to follow updates on the campaign. TWITTER: Use the hashtag #IDEI.

If you live in Toronto, we invite you to check out a striking image on a wall on the North-East corner of Queen and Ossington. We will be adding something to that image each day leading up November 23 – the International Day to End Impunity.

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