News / Europe

Outgoing UN Rights Chief Deplores International Indifference to Atrocities

FILE - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay visits an undisclosed location in South Sudan in this April 2014 photo released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
FILE - United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay visits an undisclosed location in South Sudan in this April 2014 photo released by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Lisa Schlein
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay issued a stinging rebuke to the international community for remaining indifferent to widespread atrocities committed around the world. In a final speech to the U.N. Human Rights Council before leaving her post, Pillay said politics has too often taken precedence over human rights.  

Pillay will have served six years as U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights when she steps down on September 1. Throughout her tenure, she has been an outspoken champion of human rights, often risking offending countries by maintaining pressure on governments she deemed culpable of gross, systematic abuse.

She did not soften this approach as she deplored the sad state of human rights around the world in her final speech to the 47-member U.N. Human Rights Council.  

“Regrettably, the international community remains unable to consistently react strongly and quickly to crises, including situations of grave human rights violations with high potential for regional overspill,” she said.  

Pillay visited South Sudan in April-a week after the violence and mass slaughter there reached new heights. She said she was shocked by the targeted ethnic attacks and risk of widespread famine, as well as by the seeming indifference of the leaders on both sides of the conflict to this unfolding tragedy.

She expressed similar feelings of outrage and alarm at the inter-communal tensions and widespread violence in the Central African Republic.  

She described the relentless violence in Syria as a tragedy for the Syrian people and a tragic failure for the cause of human rights. She said the bombings, widespread loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure in such places as Aleppo should outrage the conscience of humanity. She deplored the willful refusal by Syria's government and some opposition groups to seek a peaceful solution to end the war.  

“External powers continue to fuel this violence through the supply of arms, military and other material assistance, as well as inflows of foreign fighters," she said. "It is shocking that war crimes and crimes against humanity have become commonplace and occur with complete impunity. I am disappointed that the Security Council, with 13 votes in favor and 2 opposed, has been unable to reach agreement on action to ensure accountability for such crimes.”  

Russia and China have repeatedly vetoed resolutions aimed at referring Syrian officials suspected of war crimes and crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court.

In her speech, Pillay indicated that violations of human rights involve more than just large scale abuses, saying human rights starts and ends with the individual. She poignantly highlighted the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls by the militant Boko Haram in Nigeria.

She cited the so-called "honor killing" in Pakistan of a 23-year-old pregnant woman by her family as another shocking case of violence against women.

As she prepares to step down as U.N. rights chief, Pillay leaves a full agenda of human rights violations for her successor, including the deteriorating situation in Ukraine. She leaves while the U.N. sets up a field office in South Korea to monitor widespread abuses in North Korea.  

She leaves as her office prepares a comprehensive investigation into alleged atrocities committed in the waning days of Sri Lanka’s long civil war with the Tamil Tigers, and with Sri Lanka's government vowing once again not to cooperate with the U.N. probe

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

With IS in Coalition Cross-Hairs, al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Peace from: USA
June 17, 2014 3:17 PM
Lisa Sclein, thank you for the article.

If I read this correctly: "with Sri Lanka's government vowing once again not to cooperate with the U.N. probe" there are TWO observations: 1. NOT to cooperate 2. vowing once again.

* Now I'm not surprised to read more TRUTHS at:
www.srilankacampaign.org

* Did you know about the torture/rape going on even after 'end of war'?
The report from the United Kingdom Bar Human Rights Committee, human rights lawyer Yasmin Sooka and the International Truth & Justice Project, details evidence of abuse from Tamils who say they were beaten with pipes, burnt with cigarettes and branded with hot objects.

http://www.stop-torture.com/#

* We hear from former BBC correspondent Frances Harrison, this:
www.stillcountingthedead.com



by: Harold
June 12, 2014 2:08 PM
Too little to late - six years and not much said for those African Governments responsible for genocide and humanitarian violations on an ongoing scale, omitting them by name and focusing on Europe and Syria, hoping to divert undue attention away. Rose tinted spectacle syndrome?

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