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

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid