The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, speaking at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) today after submitting her annual report for 2012, said she welcomed the release of the report of the internal review panel on the United Nations actions in Sri Lanka during the last phase of the conflict.
Pillay said that the report released last year concluded that there was a systematic failure on the part of the United Nations.
“It is a powerful reminder that the United Nations, wherever we are, has a duty to live up to the principles and standards we promote,” she said.
The report by the Internal Review Panel released last November concluded that “events in Sri Lanka mark a grave failure of the UN 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 UN.”
The Panel, set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, highlighted in particular the roles played by the Secretariat, the agencies and programmes of the UN Country Team, and the members of the Security Council and Human Rights Council in the final months of that conflict.
The Panel of Experts’ report raised a number of issues, including those regarding the UN response to the situation facing civilians in the north of Sri Lanka in the last months of the war. It recommended “a comprehensive review of action by the United Nations system during the war in Sri Lanka and the aftermath, regarding the implementation of its humanitarian and protection mandates” – which, in turn, led to the internal UN review. (Colombo Gazette)