News / Asia

    UN Admits Failures in Protecting Sri Lankan Civilians

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon listens to a speech in the Swiss National Council during his visit in the Autumn Parliament Session in Bern, September 11, 2012.UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon listens to a speech in the Swiss National Council during his visit in the Autumn Parliament Session in Bern, September 11, 2012.
    x
    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon listens to a speech in the Swiss National Council during his visit in the Autumn Parliament Session in Bern, September 11, 2012.
    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon listens to a speech in the Swiss National Council during his visit in the Autumn Parliament Session in Bern, September 11, 2012.
    Margaret Besheer
    A United Nations internal review of its efforts to protect and assist civilians during the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2009 concludes that it was a systemic and grave failure to the detriment of thousands of civilians.

    The report released Wednesday, but first reported by the BBC on Tuesday, points to failures throughout the U.N. system, starting with senior officials, but also directing blame at the U.N. Security Council, the Human Rights Council and others for not robustly responding to the escalation of violence in Sri Lanka.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, told reporters that Ban is committed to strengthening the United Nations and its core mission of protecting people from harm.

    “As an immediate first step, the secretary-general will organize a senior-level team to give careful consideration to the recommendations and advise him on a way forward.  Other action will follow in short order,” Nesirky said.

    Wednesday’s report, written by former U.N. official Charles Petrie and three staff members, criticized U.N. officials for not confronting the Sri Lankan government for its responsibility in violations of international law, particularly the shelling of civilians, because it feared the government would limit its humanitarian access, which it did anyway.

    In September 2009, the Sri Lankan government told the United Nations to relocate its staff out of the area of its operations, saying it could no longer guarantee their security.
    International staff left, but several from Sri Lanka stayed, because the government made it difficult for their relatives to leave.

    The panel criticizes the U.N. for not standing up to the government, saying “the reaction of the U.N. system as a whole to the government’s withdrawal of security assurances represented a serious failure.”

    An earlier U.N. report said credible sources estimated that as many as 40,000 civilians died in the last months of fighting when the government cornered rebel Tamil Tigers in the north of the country, trapping hundreds of thousands of civilians with them.  Both sides have been accused of committing war crimes during the conflict.

    Human Rights Watch’s U.N. director, Philippe Bolopion, said the report identifies the mistakes that led the world body to fail in its most basic obligations to Sri Lankan civilians, and he urged action and reform of the entire U.N. system.

    The panel’s report concludes that events in Sri Lanka “mark a grave failure of the U.N. to adequately respond to early warnings and to the evolving situation during the final stages of the conflict and its aftermath, to the detriment of hundreds of thousands of civilians and in contradiction with the principles and responsibilities of the U.N.”

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Shiva from: Canada
    November 18, 2012 6:32 PM
    The leaders that collaborated with the alleged war criminal Sri Lankan regime have a responsibility to ensure justice and must demand for an independent international transparent war crimes and genocide investigation without further delay.

    I believe that the International Community has been mislead and duped by the Sri Lankan and the Indian UPA leaders on the ground situation in Eelam.

    The International community has failed to understand the history of the state sponsored race riots, systematic oppression and state terrorism against the Tamils by the successive Sinhala Buddhist Apartheid regime since independence from the British in 1948 and prior to the LTTE era.

    The LTTE was a product of State terrorism, oppression and Sinhala hooliganism and it was aided and trained by the Indians under eminent leaders like Indra Gandhi and MGR to protect the Tamils from State terrorism and oppression.

    LTTE has committed crimes in this process as the state was committing much more heinous crimes and atrocities against the innocent Tamils. The massacre of Tamils, mass murders, rape, abductions and torture, indiscriminate bombing and shelling of no-fly safe zones by the Sri Lankan forces in May 2009 has exposed the true colours and the criminal mindset of the Sri Lankan Buddhist Apartheid racist regime to the world.

    It is sad that the Western leaders and the International community including the UN were simply watching the massacre, mass murders, rape, torture, abductions, detentions, murder of NGOs, Students and murder of journalists without any attempt to prevent it.

    It is shame on the leaders who failed miserably to prevent ethnic cleansing of a minority and human sufferings despite global human rights groups, media including Channel 4 TV, UK brought gruesome human sufferings, indiscriminate killings of unarmed civilians, women and children that were exposed all over the world.

    Now the Tamils are without any rights, made as slaves in their own homeland. Tamil lands are robbed including to build Buddhist temples by rogue Buddhist Monks and Eelam has become a forced Sinhala army occupation.

    Is this a conspiracy against the Tamils or ...?

    by: J michael from: USA
    November 16, 2012 1:19 AM
    The ineffectiveness of the Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon has created the climate for despots like Rajapakse and Assad to take the upper hand in delivering the most heinous crimes to their own citizens in the name of ethnic and minority cleansing.

    Ban Ki Moon and his team must be asked to step down and an inquiry must be held to make them accountable for their utter negligence and indifference toward the suffering of people in countries that are neglected by the international media.

    Such irresponsible behavior of the UN only fosters terror by Governments on their own people and allows for the perpetration of more war crimes. We need to ask what the UN has actually done in terms of tangible measurable results toward world peace. The answer might be in the negative.

    by: Gentleman from: Colombo
    November 16, 2012 1:16 AM
    The international community should realize the Sri Lanka's problem. it's not a ethnic conflict but a systematic genocide with genocidal massacres. The governments used different terms to carry out their objectives such as fighting against terrorism humanitarian operations. It's the to save the Tamils in SL under a international mechanism.

    by: EqJustice
    November 14, 2012 10:24 PM
    Wow..no lessons learned from Bosnia, Rwanda, Sudan and why not Syria? It's time to put aside the politics and focus on core values and the mission of this agency - i.e to protect humanity. So appalled when UN member states praised SL when they declared the term 'Humanitarian Operation' whereas they indeed pushed these innocent lives into hell. Can give some dignity to those perished by bringing those evils who committed these atrocities to justice? Please..Mr Moon - This called the redemption if you ever believe in such things. Tamil minority asked for one thing since Independence. Treat me like any other person and not second class.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora