The 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council began in Geneva today but the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein did not mention his recent visit to Sri Lanka in his statement.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, who was in Sri Lanka in early February, said that it was extremely alarming that so many conflicts, crises and humanitarian emergencies are currently raging around the world, with repeated violations of the norms that protect people’s rights and lives.
He said that in Afghanistan, Burundi, the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo; the countries around Lake Chad which have suffered the attacks of Boko Haram; in Iraq; Libya; Mali; the Occupied Palestinian Territory; Somalia; South Sudan; Sudan; Syria; Ukraine and Yemen, millions of lives are threatened, and millions of homes are destroyed.
“Survivors, particularly the most vulnerable, are forced to flee, and become exposed to further violations. Economies are being broken. Health systems and infrastructure are being destroyed. Children go hungry, unschooled, and many suffer multiple forms of violence. The effects of these prolonged conflicts and emergencies will be endured for generations. And yet they continue – and even cease, apparently, to shock. Whether they are the result of deliberate targeting or systemic incompetence, every single attack on civilians and protected civilian objects must be fully, transparently and independently investigated,” he added.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that conflicts in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere have unleashed a toxic brew of malevolent forces, including the commission of sickening crimes and atrocities, and the emergence of human trafficking gangs.
He also said that anti-immigrant and anti-minority rhetoric scar societies and while they might offer instant political gratification in some quarters, they result in divisions that cut deep.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said that there must be a sane, principled and compassionate welcome given to people who are fleeing for their lives. He urged Member States to rise above the crescendo of xenophobia and gather lessons from the great integrative forces of history. (Colombo Gazette)