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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs