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

    Video US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora