News / Europe

UN Rights Official Calls for Investigation into Ukraine, Sri Lanka

FILE - A Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil girl applies vermillion on the forehead of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in red, as she welcomes her at a vocational training center in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka, Aug. 27, 2013.
FILE - A Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil girl applies vermillion on the forehead of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in red, as she welcomes her at a vocational training center in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka, Aug. 27, 2013.
Lisa Schlein
The top U.N. human rights official is calling for independent international investigations into human rights violations in Ukraine and Sri Lanka.  Navi Pillay highlighted these two key issues in her annual report on human rights crises around the world.   

This was Pillay’s final annual report to the U.N. Council before stepping down as High Commissioner for Human Rights in August.  She reflected with pride upon the accomplishments of her office during her six-year tenure.  But expressed sorrow for the many challenges and implacable brutality that cause so much grievous suffering around the world.  

Pillay spoke about the need to strengthen accountability and about the dangers of allowing states and individuals to commit gross human rights violations with impunity.   

“Nearly five years on from the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka, I regret that the government has failed to satisfy the Council’s call for a credible and independent investigation into allegations of serious human rights violations," she said. "I am therefore recommending that the time has come for the Council to establish its own international inquiry mechanism, which I believe can play a positive role where domestic mechanisms have failed.”   

The Sri Lankan government has rejected an international inquiry into possible war crimes by government forces and separatist Tamil Tigers during a 26-year civil war.  The Sinhalese government accuses Pillay, who is a South African of Tamil ancestry, of being biased - an accusation she denies.

Pillay also called for an independent investigation into all human rights violations that have taken place in Ukraine in recent months.   

“These include killings, disappearances, arbitrary detentions, torture and ill-treatment," she said. "I strongly believe that respect for human rights norms and standards, building a society that is inclusive of the rights of all, is key to finding a peaceful and durable solution to the current crisis.”   

Pillay said that a senior human rights officer has been sent to Ukraine and other staff members would follow.

Ukrainian U.N. Ambassador Yurii Klymenko took the floor at the Council to denounce the illegal entry of Russian armed forces on the territory of his country.   

“We are confident that with appropriate backing of international community in guaranteeing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of my country as well as in resolving ... economic problems, Ukraine will keep the difficult, but right track we are back on,” he said.

Pillay also raised concerns about protecting human rights in the context of counter-terrorism and armed drones.  She spoke with particular passion about the harm caused by discrimination to people all around the world.  

She described the work of her office in trying to help victims of sexual violence in armed conflict in Central African Republic, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Somalia.  She urged nations not to forget the unspeakable violations occurring in Syria and North Korea.

You May Like

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Shiva from: Canada
March 07, 2014 3:33 PM
Everyone should have known by now that the Sri Lankan regime …

a. is not interested in providing the Tamils any meaningful solution
b. will provide no democracy, rule of law, Justice or R2P to the Tamils
c. will not treat the Tamils are equal citizens
d. continues to attack, intimidate, commit ethnic cleansing and land grab from the Tamils
e. continues to deny accountability, rule of law and Justice
f. is an authoritarian regime with full use of armed forces, attack, abductions, torture and murder of innocents with full impunity
g. ignore crimes such as only last week a Tamil British citizen was tortured and murdered in police custody
h. will not punish the killers of the 17 French charity workers who were murdered in cold blood
i. An alleged criminal regime elected by the hard core Sinhala Buddhist Apartheid chauvinists. Hence there will never be any reconciliation and only Eelam for the Tamils is the only viable solution to live in peace, stability and prosperity.

In Response

by: Kushan from: New York -USA
March 07, 2014 11:33 PM
Sri Lanka took necessary steps to defeat an extremely dangerous, Tamil Terrorist Group. And they did defeat them. In any country, when there is a conflict, there are going to be causalities. But Sri Lankan armed forces took utmost precautions, and humane initiatives to protect "TAMILS". Otherwise they could have just shelled the hell out! Thats why this war took this long.


by: Victim Tamil from: UK
March 06, 2014 9:10 PM
Srilanaka state terrorism blamed Madam Louise Arbour also in the same way. Any body who is neutral and who speaks the truth is branded as LTTE by Srilanka sate terrorism. Srilanka sate terrorism will never conduct a genuine, open and impartial internal inquiry. Because the main criminals of this total crime (genocide, ethnics cleaning, and crime against humanity) are Rajapksa family. it has been proved in all possible ways (photos, eyewitness, videos, satellite images, and phone recordings, etc..).

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid