Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferr?

The United Nations human rights office today voiced alarm over the killing of a journalist in Mexico this past weekend, and condemned what it said is a ?disturbing trend? of media professionals being murdered in the country, where more than 70 have been killed over the past 12 years.

?We strongly condemn the murder of Regina Martinez, and are concerned that this disturbing trend of murdering media workers ? undermines the exercise of freedom of expression in the country,? said a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Rupert Colville, at a press conference in Geneva.

?We call for a thorough independent investigation into this and other similar cases, and urge the Government to immediately implement protection measures for journalists,? he said.

Mr. Colville also welcomed yesterday?s passing, by the Mexican Congress, of two new laws designed to protect journalists and human rights defenders. The new laws are known as the General Victims Act and the Law for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists.

During a visit to Mexico last year, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, emphasized the importance of passing that legislation after meeting with victims and relatives of murdered human rights activists and journalists.

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