Massive violations have occurred in SL -Pillay

25 February 2013 01:24 pm - 86     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay today said that ‘massive’ violations have occurred in Sri Lanka during the war that ended in 2009.

Making the opening statement at the 22nd session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Pillay said, “We must continue to nurture and strengthen the system designed to deal with such crimes and violations, and those who commit them. It is also critical that we in the international community do our utmost to prevent such situations from developing or deteriorating.”

The full statement made by Ms. Navi Pillay

25 February 2013

Mr. President and President of the General Assembly,
Distinguished Members of the Human Rights Council,
Excellencies and dear colleagues,

Allow me first of all to congratulate His Excellency, Remigiusz Henczel, who is presiding over his first meeting of the Council as President, at the start of what is an historically significant year for the Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights, for the Human Rights Council, and indeed for the global human rights movement as a whole.

Twenty years ago, in June 1993, more than 7,000 participants gathered in Vienna for the World Conference on Human Rights. I was among them, and remember vividly how most of us at the time worried about the likelihood of real progress in the protection of human rights. Many believed there was a risk that the fundamental rights laid down in 1948 in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, might be rolled back.

The Berlin Wall had fallen in November 1989 and, despite the outbreak of new conflicts in the Balkans and elsewhere, the end of the Cold War gave a new impetus to the concepts of freedom, democracy and human rights that carried us through the Vienna Conference. The assembled delegates overcame major differences on contentious issues such as universality, sovereignty, impunity, and how to give a voice to victims. The result was a powerful and very positive outcome document: the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA).

The VDPA is the most significant overarching human rights document produced in the last quarter of a century. It crystalized the underlying principles that human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, and took the key notion of universality a step further by committing States to the promotion and protection of all human rights for all people “regardless of their political, economic, and cultural systems.”

In a sense, by cutting through the artificial hierarchy under which social, economic and cultural rights were viewed by some as being less important than civil and political rights, the Conference succeeded in breaching a second wall that had divided States over the previous decades. That process is continuing, with the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights entering into force on 5 May. This will finally bring it in line with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which has had a similar Optional Protocol, allowing for individual complaints, in place for the past 37 years.

The Vienna Conference led to historic advances in a number of other areas. During the course of this anniversary year, we will have several opportunities to take stock of these, including at the High Level Panel on the Vienna Declaration later today, when the anniversary celebrations will be officially launched.

I will mention just a few of the principal achievements of the VDPA: its role in advancing women’s rights, its impact on the fight against impunity, and its swiftly realized recommendation to create the organization of which I am currently the proud steward: the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

At Vienna, the NGO slogan “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” spoke loudly, and the VDPA reclaimed the vision of human rights for women. It called for the universal ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the integration of women’s rights into all UN activities and called for the adoption of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and endorsed the creation of a Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.

The Vienna Declaration condemned the gross and systematic violations of human rights that were continuing in many parts of the world. It highlighted violations such as torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, summary and arbitrary executions, disappearances, and arbitrary detentions; it drew attention to all forms of racism, racial discrimination and apartheid, foreign occupation and alien domination, and xenophobia. It highlighted poverty, hunger and other denials of economic, social and cultural rights, religious intolerance, terrorism, and lack of the rule of law.

It viewed with concern the issue of impunity of perpetrators of human rights violations, and supported the efforts made by the UN human rights machinery to examine all aspects of the issue. Perhaps most significantly, just one month after the establishment of the first ad hoc international criminal tribunal since Nuremberg, the Declaration nudged the International Law Commission to continue its work on a permanent international criminal court.

The Conference did not stop there. It recognized that achieving these goals required stronger, more streamlined leadership in the UN system itself. To this end, it called for the establishment of a High Commissioner for Human Rights, with a mandate to protect and promote human rights, and the post was created by the General Assembly later that year.

That was twenty years ago.

Much progress has occurred during those two decades. But we must recognize that the glass is half full, and the promise of respecting all human rights for all people is still a dream for too many.

Major advances in women’s rights have occurred in many countries, and international legislation has continued to develop, for example in the area of conflict-related sexual violence. The CEDAW now has 187 State parties, making it the second most ratified human rights treaty after the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Its Optional Protocol has 104 States parties drawn from all regions of the world and the decisions it has generated have brought individual relief to many women and brought about profound policy and legislative change in many countries.

Yet women are still subject to discrimination and violence, to a shocking degree.

There have been tremendous advances in tackling impunity for international crimes over the past 20 years, in particular through the ad hoc tribunals such as those for Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Cambodia, and the establishment of the International Criminal Court, the world’s first permanent tribunal with powers to prosecute suspected perpetrators of international crimes.

Yet here too, we still have a long way to go. The ICC can only become involved if the State concerned is among the 122 State Parties to the Rome Statute, or if a situation is referred to it by the Security Council. Two important situations – Darfur in 2008, and Libya in 2011 have been referred, but the Security Council has so far failed with regard to Syria, despite the repeated reports of widespread or systematic crimes and violations by my Office, the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, civil society organizations and Special Procedures.

Again, despite the truly inspiring advances in combating impunity and ensuring accountability both at the international and national levels, including through transitional justice processes, there are still far too many people with command responsibility who escape justice for serious crimes and gross human rights violations. Hundreds of thousands of people have died in genocides in Rwanda and Bosnia and Herzegovina; the Palestinian territories are still occupied; massive violations have occurred in Iraq and Sri Lanka; and war crimes continue to be committed in numerous internal conflicts including those continuing in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Sudan and Syria. We must continue to nurture and strengthen the system designed to deal with such crimes and violations, and those who commit them. It is also critical that we in the international community do our utmost to prevent such situations from developing or deteriorating.

One of the most tangible outcomes of the VDPA is the world-wide recognition of national human rights institutions as key independent and authoritative protectors and promoters of human rights at the national, regional and global levels. Their number has rocketed from fewer than 10 at the beginning of the 1990s to 101 internationally accredited institutions today (including 71 with ‘A’ status).

At the Vienna Conference, I was representing a women’s rights civil society organization, and it is a matter of pride to me that NGOs played such a critical role at the World Conference, especially in pushing for the establishment of a High Commissioner’s Office with a strong and unequivocal mandate.

Since then, civil society has evolved and expanded, with many more active national human rights organizations around today than there were 20 years ago. These national human rights defenders are the heroes of our time. It is, therefore, a matter of great concern that so many State authorities continue to ignore or repress civil society organizations, human rights defenders and the media. These organizations and individuals inject the life blood into human rights: they are the promoters of change, the people who ring the alarm about abuse, poor legislation and creeping authoritarianism.

Nonetheless I continue to hear of brave human rights defenders, journalists or bloggers who have been threatened, harassed, arrested or killed because of their work on behalf of the human rights of others. Such intimidation has sometimes even occurred during the proceedings of this Council. We must never tolerate such pressure, or reprisals against those who rightly seek to engage the international human rights system.

Colleagues and friends,

The UN Human Rights system has also grown stronger since the Vienna Conference.

This Council began its work in 2006, replacing the Commission on Human Rights, which although controversial had laid the bedrock of our human rights system. The Council has gained credibility for its different modus operandi and in particular for its successful management of the first round of the Universal Periodic Review, which examined every UN Member State’s human rights record without exception. I urge all States to maintain this impressive record during the all-important second cycle. The Council has also been increasingly receptive to human rights situations, holding a succession of important Special Sessions and establishing Commissions of Inquiry and Fact-finding Missions.

In June 1993, there were just 26 Special Procedures with thematic or country-based mandates. Today there are 48 separate mandates with 72 experts appointed by the Council. The combination of independence, expertise and UN-bestowed authority is potent. It is critical that all Member States cooperate fully with the Special Procedures, including by accepting visits.

The human rights treaty bodies have also grown in number and weight. Two major new international treaties – on Persons with Disabilities and Disappearance – and nine important substantive and procedural Optional Protocols have been adopted since Vienna In 1993, the seven treaties and protocols had received 742 ratifications by States. That number has grown to 2010 State parties to 18 treaties and protocols. I urge States to accept more of these crucial treaties during this anniversary year. It would be a welcome development if every single State has become a member to the CRC and CEDAW by the end of 2013.

The Office of the High Commissioner, one of the most tangible legacies of Vienna, has grown from a small entity of just over 100 staff and a presence in two countries outside Geneva, to more than 1,000 staff and 58 field presences worldwide. Yet we continue to receive many requests for assistance that we are unable to satisfy. We could – and I am convinced that we should – continue to grow and mature in order to carry out fully our mandate to promote and protect the human rights of everyone everywhere.

For that to happen, we need your further support, and in particular we need a higher, more realistic and more sustainable level of funding. I am convinced that, collectively, we are failing to devote nearly enough human and financial resources to come even close to fulfilling the aspirations of the Universal Declaration, the Vienna outcome and each and every session of this Council. In other words, while we fully recognize the crucial importance of human rights to the development of a global civilization that now comprises more than seven billion people, we are failing to match our stated aims and established obligations with the necessary concrete commitment.

I urge you then to advance the implementation of the many remarkable international laws and standards that have been developed since the Universal Declaration laid down the basic framework in 1948, and the subsequent vigorous boost provided by the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

The 20th anniversary of the Vienna Conference and its Declaration coincides with another round of unforeseen global upheavals that provide both enormous challenges and significant opportunities. I am of course referring not just to the tumultuous events that have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa over the past two years, and to the situation in the Sahel region but also to the massive global financial and economic crises and threats to the environment, that have made the increased focus on economic, social and cultural rights especially relevant.

Today more than ever, we must learn from the past, as well as take pride in our very real achievements over the past 20 years.

In 1993, the world community recommitted itself to fight for human rights for all. Vienna marked a chapter in a human rights revolution that had begun almost half a century earlier with the adoption of the Universal Declaration. Hundreds of millions more people today are able to exercise their human rights without interference thanks to the actions taken on the basis of the commitments outlined in the Vienna Declaration. Our task, as heirs of Vienna, is to extend these benefits to every last person on earth -- especially the most marginalized and those most at risk of violence, exploitation and discrimination. For while the past twenty years have seen extraordinary progress, we should never forget that there have been those who have been left behind – migrants, older persons, religious and ethnic minorities, people persecuted because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, to name just a few. Our work here will not be done until the promise of the Vienna Declaration is made real for everyone – no exceptions, no excuses.

I wish you a productive 22nd session and assure you of my, and my hard-working and dedicated staff’s, readiness to assist you in any way we can.

Thank you, Mr. President.
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  Comments - 86

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  • Obasanjo Monday, 25 February 2013 09:39 PM

    Those too are mentioned..

    mail_guy Tuesday, 26 February 2013 05:18 AM

    For your information, US accepted that they have done war crimes in Iraq and Afgan and even they did proper actions against the culprits. What about SL? Understand the fact before commenting.

    Jerome Tuesday, 26 February 2013 05:26 AM

    What else can we expect from Navaneetham Pillay, the native Tamil from South Africa

    Sampath Monday, 25 February 2013 11:04 PM

    Accountability is a must no matter who you are. Justice cannot be impeached at an international level. Do the crime then be ready to do the time.

    Partial Tuesday, 26 February 2013 09:34 AM

    Unfortunately not every Sri Lankan sees it in this manner. War Crimes & Human right violations in other countries is not our problem. Our problem is the issues in Sri Lanka and all that we do is boycott addressing these issues. If SL is self sufficient then we can stand against these accusations, but as we are not we are answerable. We need the UN and the Western World, we need to address these issues, we cannot become another Syria. Roads alone is not enough to ensure Sri Lanka has a bright future.

    namal999 Tuesday, 26 February 2013 09:46 AM

    pillay is tamil right?

    peter Tuesday, 26 February 2013 09:48 AM

    This is not an issue of human right voilation. It is not all about internaltional relation. No one talk about human right in Pakistan, Afgan and States. Why do we engage in loosing battle now.

    namal999 Tuesday, 26 February 2013 09:49 AM

    to get your refugee status approved?

    rosebud Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:00 AM

    Does the international community Ms Pillay refers to consider itself to be above and apart from the rest of the world? If so who judges them? What a bunch of hypocrites! via DM Android App

    Jumbo Tuesday, 26 February 2013 09:57 AM


    ind Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:12 AM

    Exactly. But I wonder what happen in Nagasaki-Hiroshima. I think they all false information. LOL !!!

    ind Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:13 AM

    Without telling bullshit, why don't you come and see the reality even after the invitation ???

    ind Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:14 AM

    Well said mate. But this "pilli" don't understand or don't want to understand that.

    No Drog Tuesday, 26 February 2013 10:00 AM

    LOL better refugee in another country rather than pariah state?

    wiren Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:17 AM

    Pillay is nothing but a mere stooge carrying out the instructions of the LTTE, USAand the EU. Biased and a phony.

    Mason Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:17 AM

    Sri Lanka has accepted UN declarations, and therefore should abide by it. If you have not you are guilty. So, finger pointing other nations does not absolve you of the crime.

    Marawila Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:19 AM

    It's irrelevent who said it... But the fact is .. If it has happened.. why not correct our selves and move forward... as a nation.

    Ossie Tuesday, 26 February 2013 01:12 AM

    ''Massive Human Rights Violations....'', What about Afganistan, Iraq and Pakistan?. That is ANIMAL Rights Violations or something else. Navi Pillay, Are you BLIND or DEAF?.

    ChickenParippu Tuesday, 26 February 2013 10:03 AM

    the use of the organization is to dance to the whims and fancies of parties who suck up to a bloc of countries - and to hide the crimes of the afore mentioned bloc.

    Jeewan Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:29 AM

    Prostituting of Human Rights?????

    ChickenParippu Tuesday, 26 February 2013 10:09 AM

    the problem my friend is the fact the 'problems' in sri lanka are massively exaggerated. people cheer the UN thinking it will overthrow the corrupt regime - but they don't realize what could happen to them as well.

    ANTON Tuesday, 26 February 2013 01:27 AM

    Yeah, you started first by sending Indian troops to Srilanka.

    Rizana Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:31 AM

    Oh my God! she forgot to mention the names of Bahrain, Israel and least but not last Saudi Arabia where I, an underage was killed recently

    saman Tuesday, 26 February 2013 01:24 AM

    Navi doesn't want to talk about HR violations in Europe, China, Burma and South Africa where she was born. Navi is also silent on Guantanamo Bay detention camp where 100s of so called illegal combatants are held without any chargers.

    Re-searcher Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:00 AM

    Was she there with Prabha at war time. I suspect she should be one of his wives.

    Aney Machang Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:34 AM

    Not a cat is bothered about these violations and resolutions!

    re-searcher Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:00 AM

    The sentence should be amended this way; Massive violation have been occurring in Iraq and we should take an action against USA .........

    Ananda Seneviratne Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:38 AM

    How about the human rights of all Sri Lankans violated by international LTTE agents in US, Canada, Australia and in Europe?

    Prof Wickramatillake Tuesday, 26 February 2013 10:13 AM

    Mr President, This woman is a Tamil woman, let a Sinhalese also speak with same authority...

    bimba Tuesday, 26 February 2013 02:02 AM

    And also there won't be any issue to Ms Pillai if if LTTE won the battle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    mdan Tuesday, 26 February 2013 10:22 AM


    nsa Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:00 AM

    stop accusing and bring evidence... not the created evidence but real evidence.... and don't bring those 2 people who you bribed with citizenships.... via DM Android App

    clueless Tuesday, 26 February 2013 10:22 AM

    the end result is terrorism is defeated and now lets defeat political thuggary

    Anu Tuesday, 26 February 2013 10:23 AM

    voice of LTTE...

    Anil Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:50 AM

    Where the hell you have been when there are mass murders from LTTE for last 30 years and 20 million people were suffering? Didn't UN has ears or bloody mouth back then?

    mack Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:00 AM

    GOSL denying every accusation brought forward by UN and right's groups.why ain't anyone believing u? via DM Android App

    kumar Tuesday, 26 February 2013 06:53 AM

    Everyone who comments here well aware these things. But they don't have any other genuine points to protect their people who committed these inhuman crime.

    Lal.Fernando. Tuesday, 26 February 2013 02:47 AM

    Dear Navi Pillay I congradulate you.I sincerely hope UNHCR would action against the perpitrators. If not what is the use of this great organisation?

    kumar Tuesday, 26 February 2013 07:00 AM

    sleep boy sleep!

    justin Tuesday, 26 February 2013 02:50 AM

    blind and bias.reading the west 's writing

    Sri Aryaman Tuesday, 26 February 2013 10:32 AM

    what else I can expect from you. You part of now defunct LTTE

    mail_guy Tuesday, 26 February 2013 03:00 AM

    Whatever she said was totally true. Thank you Pillay for revealing the truth to the world.

    Sandra Tuesday, 26 February 2013 02:01 PM

    Andy, you seem to be knowing very little. Western countries kill by invading other countries. There are no numbers at all - at least now Pillay has a bogus number of 40,000 and sometimes it goes upto 100,000. You can see how bias Pillay is.
    I amin the West and we know what these fellows are upto in the West.
    You should be happy that MR got the criminal LTTE wiped off at least now the people, their kith and kin are safe without suicide bombers. I know Prabha is turning in the grave for the bull shit comments from you.

    True Sri Lankan Tuesday, 26 February 2013 03:11 AM

    Hats off navi pillai

    ruwan aiya Tuesday, 26 February 2013 07:15 AM

    ado Pillay, Your country men die likes dogs in streets of India without food and clean water. Fix it

    andy Tuesday, 26 February 2013 03:20 AM

    Western countries don't kill the way rajapakse's do..

    ind Tuesday, 26 February 2013 07:19 AM

    Very soon, not only hats, but everything will off !!!!!

    unchikun Tuesday, 26 February 2013 07:19 AM

    So what you say the Sri Lanka government is justified to kill because a terrorist group killed . This is called Banana justice.

    Gon Haraka Tuesday, 26 February 2013 03:21 AM

    OK Pillay - Now go back to sleep until the next UN assembly

    Coconut Donkey Tuesday, 26 February 2013 07:26 AM

    no $hit Sherlock..

    king of wanathey Tuesday, 26 February 2013 07:28 AM

    Now the inquiry is weather others violated or not, weather we violated !

    willows Tuesday, 26 February 2013 07:33 AM

    were you sleeping all these days, when the bloody LTTE ruining our country. What about the issues with Iraq, afghan, Bahrain, Saudi, Libya etc. Get a life Lady???

    Huna Tuesday, 26 February 2013 07:37 AM

    has any of the US Presidents found guilty?

    Anthony Tuesday, 26 February 2013 03:46 AM

    Why does one even bother commenting on her rantings. Please don't waste your time. She's a boot licker, nothing else.

    LBJ Tuesday, 26 February 2013 03:53 AM

    That dog don't hunt any more.

    Amila G Tuesday, 26 February 2013 04:03 AM

    Forget the war , there is some truth in human rights violations in this land . If you say know .Then you have seen only the walk ways.

    Gamran Monday, 25 February 2013 05:38 PM

    Nothing is mentioned about the human right violations by the Western countries in Iraq, Afganistan & Pakistan.

    manna Monday, 25 February 2013 05:40 PM


    EY Tuesday, 26 February 2013 04:07 AM

    Truth is, in every war, violations are there, without any violation how can do the war? If there is no violation they must use the toy weapons,
    So, past is past, if anything f goes wrong we have to do investigation and all but most wanted thing is how to direct SL government to rebuild the war affected areas .
    Then think what is Pillay doing ????? just promoting USA agenda using innocent Tamil people like Prabakaran did in last period of war……..

    Ashroff Tuesday, 26 February 2013 03:13 PM

    Prof.Wickramatilleke! Arrange Bodu Bala Sena's presence in Geneva.

    Seriously Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:09 AM

    Andy - as much as I am with you WRT rajapakse's not being quite clean, some killings done by westerners are quite worse.

    No Drog Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:14 AM

    i agree too....

    aj Sydney Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:10 AM

    Cannt belive that Singala people are just suffering but doing anything to it

    SK Monday, 25 February 2013 06:43 PM

    Vienna Declaration is made real for everyone including Government of Sri Lanka – no exceptions, no excuses. Thank you Navi Pillay.

    Kabi Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:18 AM

    If you open your eyes and read or do and "ctrl +f" search you can find she was talking about violations about Iraq and Afghanistan as well!! You proved to be blind with while having good eyes.

    ralph Tuesday, 26 February 2013 12:00 AM

    Every conflict and every war is prone to voilations. I have seen a war that is violation free. Why do they always say Sri Lanka. It would be correct to get more precise n saying "It is a banned Terroist group vers the governtment right? The US drone target individuals and kill them almost daily. So where are the rights for those victims. Come on folks wake up. Total waste of time. via DM Android App

    Dolwatta Monday, 25 February 2013 07:09 PM

    Navi Pillay. is the real terrorist. She is a pro-LTTE.

    Rahu Monday, 25 February 2013 07:19 PM

    Pla consider about the HR violation these days for Muslims I srilanka

    Sana Monday, 25 February 2013 07:25 PM

    Ane Pillay shut up men! Mona wadhayakda meka? Then again how else can see feed her dependents. Ok, shout and earn some bucks. Quarterly motion.... or is it yearly?

    mashood passela Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:25 AM

    Palestine is completely forgotten!!

    mashood passela Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:26 AM

    Instead they are taken to Guantanamo for better treatment!

    Nishantha Tuesday, 26 February 2013 04:40 AM

    Still continuing in all over in Sri Lanka. ‘Massive’ violations by a single family.

    Herculese Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:26 AM

    Massive HUMAN RIGHT violations have occurred in Iraq and soon it will continue in IRAN. You now go to Iran and enjoy!

    ravisandu Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:34 AM

    She is the UN high commissioner for human rights whether we like it or not same as MR being the president of Sri Lanka irrespective of who you wants as the leader.

    So what Ms. Navi Pillay says carries weight with those who are the decision makers. so what about cutting out verbal onslaughts and making some tangible moves in the right direction in rectifying the situation.

    Die AGent Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:42 AM

    then why Obama is still in the seat, know the facts before talking mate.

    Chabdra Tuesday, 26 February 2013 04:01 PM

    Navi Pillai is biased 'cos she is pro LTTE. She should be sacked from the Commissioner's post.

    Ranil Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:43 AM

    who were the culprits, and what actions did they take against the culprits.

    MirakRajBanda Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:45 AM

    What if the president says, ''Yes I did it and what can you do or do whatever the hell you wanted to do?''
    I'm not clear what's next.......
    A trade embargo?
    The Heague?

    saradiyal Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:41 AM

    Can someone please cage this female dog?

    Ranil Tuesday, 26 February 2013 08:44 AM

    As US has violated they have accepted. But nothin SL to accept as you dream.

    Srimantha Monday, 25 February 2013 09:28 PM

    Nothing was mentioned because nothing had happened and/or nothing to mention could be a reason.

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