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.

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Comment Sorting
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..).

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