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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid