Human Rights Council urged to end impunity and promote accountability

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern at the lack of accountability for human rights violations being committed in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Mr Ban said the conflicts are a sad testament to what can happen when perpetrators feel free to violate human rights without consequences.

The Secretary-General commended the Council for increasing efforts to highlight human rights abuses and violations around the world.

He, however, urged member states to use their unique position to end impunity and promote accountability.

"This Council is uniquely aware of the heavy toll of human rights abuses and atrocities. You read the Rapporteurs' reports. You hear the testimony of victims and witnesses. You help translate those appeals into concrete action. As we survey crises and challenges around the world, your work for accountability and an end to impunity are critical. I welcome the High Commissioner's report on promoting reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. The Commission on Inquiry on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea gives voice to the suffering of the many victims of grave human rights violations and provides a roadmap for the country to adhere with universal human rights standards. In Syria, all parties have committed violations of human rights of unimaginable scope and character. Those States that are members of both the Human Rights Council and the Security Council have a special duty to end this bloody war and ensure robust accountability. The besieging of communities, death by starvation and indiscriminate use of barrel bombs and other weapons of terror are unacceptable. Those committing such acts are on notice: This Council and the world are watching."

The Secretary-General praised the work done by civil societies in promoting respect for human rights and urged governments to allow human rights defenders to do their work free of reprisals and intimidation.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations, Geneva.

Duration: 2’20″

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September 2014
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