The EU and Belgium on Wednesday condemned "the outrageous murder " of the American journalist Steven Sotloff, saying it is another demonstration of the ISIL's determination to pursue and expand its terror strategy.
"The EU remains more committed than ever to support international efforts to fight ISIL and all the terrorist groups who endanger regional and global stability," said Michael Mann, spokesman for EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, in a statement. The EU supports the Human Rights Council in its endeavour to investigate those crimes and underlines the need to spare no effort to ensure that all perpetrators are held accountable, he added.
Meanwhile, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders expressed his outrage by reports from Iraq about the terrible killings of civilians and execution of journalist Steven Sotloff by ISIS. "This extremist and terrorist organisation proves that it is nothing but a belligerent factor committing massive violations of human rights and causing chaos. This organisation increases problems in Iraq," he said in a statement. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) appealed for international action to improve protection of journalists covering events in Iraq and Syria following the brutal beheading of Sotloff.
"We join international condemnation of this cowardly act and we send our deepest and most heartfelt condolences to the family and colleagues of Steven Sotloff," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha. "In the face of such extreme and abhorrent actions, the international community must take a stand, they must no longer tolerate such cruelty, and they must take action to protect media workers who are so viciously targeted," he added.
Syria and Iraq remain amongst the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. This year four journalists have been killed in Syria, while seven have been killed in Iraq. It is believed that around 20 journalists are still being held in the region, he noted Since the beginning of the year, 79 journalists and media staff across the world have lost their lives in the line of duty.