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

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More