News

UN Rights Chief Navi Pillay Raises Alarm Over Civilian Deaths in Sri Lankan War

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has renewed her call for an international investigation into violations allegedly committed by Sri Lankan troops and Tamil Tiger rebels during the final months of their decades-long civil war.  The High Commissioner has presented a progress report on the global situation of human rights at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The top U.N. human-rights official, Navi Pillay, says civilians suffer the most in all armed conflicts.  She says the neglect of basic human rights, as well as discriminatory practices, often are at the root of armed conflict.  And, that is why, she says, it is crucial to uphold the human rights of the victims.

She says it is important to get to the truth, to have independent human-rights monitors and the media present in situations of conflict.  But, she notes independent observers were not able to access either the conflict zone or the camps for displaced people in northern Sri Lanka.

The government has been accused of using heavy weaponry in a so-called civilian safe zone and the Tamil rebels of using civilians as human shields. 

But since there were no witnesses to what was happening, Pillay says it is hard to corroborate these allegations.  

"A comprehensive process of accountability for human-rights violations committed by all sides should be carried out," Pillay said. "To that end, I have called for an independent international inquiry.  On June 2nd, speaking before this Council, the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights of Sri Lanka stated that his government is committed to a reconciliation scheme.  This commitment is welcome." 

Pillay says she believes accountability is a prerequisite for the attainment of justice and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans and a foundation for lasting peace.

At the end of May, the U.N. Human Rights Council held a special session on the human-rights situation in Sri Lanka.   The high commissioner's plea for an international investigation went unheeded.

Turning her attention to other areas of concern, High Commissioner Pillay highlights the grave situation of civilians caught in conflict in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, the Palestinian Territories and Colombia.

She notes the terrible impact fighting in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, is having on civilians, aid workers, human-rights defenders and journalists.

"During the past weeks, many civilians were killed, hundreds injured and thousands displaced by clashes between pro and anti-government forces in Mogadishu," she said.  "Women are particularly at risk of violent attacks for which they have no effective recourse.  The fighting must be stopped.  Countering impunity of perpetrators for their past and current atrocities must be a priority in order to achieve justice and deter further violations." 

Pillay expresses her outrage at the lack of justice and horrific levels of sexual attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo.   She deplores the treatment of human-rights defenders, humanitarian workers and U.N. national staff In Sudan's conflict-ridden Darfur Province.  She says the workers are subject to arbitrary arrests, detentions, ill treatment and torture. 

The U.N. official says the recent clashes between the Chadian rebels and government forces have added to the widespread violations and abuses by both parties in the country. 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs