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Feb 24, 2014

U.N. rights boss seeks international probe into Sri Lanka war crimes

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations’ human rights chief called on Monday for an international inquiry into war crimes committed by both sides during Sri Lanka’s civil war, saying the government had failed to do its own credible investigation.

In a much anticipated report ahead of a U.N. Human Rights Council debate next month that could order action on the issue, Navi Pillay recommended an “independent, international inquiry mechanism, which would contribute to establishing the truth where domestic inquiry mechanisms have failed.”

Feb 24, 2014

U.N. rights envoy points to apartheid in Palestinian areas

GENEVA (Reuters) – Israel’s policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip appear to amount to apartheid due to its systematic oppression of the Palestinian people and de facto expropriation of their land, a United Nations investigator said in a report.

Richard Falk, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said that Palestinian rights are being violated by Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory and “ethnic cleansing” of East Jerusalem.

Feb 21, 2014

Iran’s rising executions dim U.N. hopes for reforms

GENEVA (Reuters) – At least 80 people and perhaps as many as 95 have been executed in Iran already this year, a surge in the use of the death penalty that has dampened hopes for human rights reforms under President Hassan Rouhani, the United Nations said on Friday.

Rouhani, who won a surprise election last year on a platform of more openness with the West, clinched an interim deal in November with world powers over Iran’s nuclear program.

Feb 21, 2014

Iran’s rising executions dim U.N. hopes for reforms under Rouhani

GENEVA (Reuters) – At least 80 people and perhaps as many as 95 have been executed in Iran already this year, a surge in the use of the death penalty that has dampened hopes for human rights reforms under President Hassan Rouhani, the United Nations said on Friday.

Rouhani, who won a surprise election last year on a platform of more openness with the West, clinched an interim deal in November with world powers over Iran’s nuclear program.

Feb 18, 2014

North Korea crimes evoke Nazi era, Kim may face charges: U.N. inquiry

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korean security chiefs and possibly even Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself should face international justice for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings comparable to Nazi-era atrocities, U.N. investigators said on Monday.

The investigators told Kim in a letter they were advising the United Nations to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC), to make sure any culprits “including possibly yourself” were held accountable.

Feb 18, 2014

Corrected – North Korea crimes evoke Nazi era, Kim may face charges – U.N. inquiry

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korean security chiefs and possibly even Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself should face international justice for ordering systematic torture, starvation and killings comparable to Nazi-era atrocities, U.N. investigators said on Monday.

The investigators told Kim in a letter they were advising the United Nations to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC), to make sure any culprits “including possibly yourself” were held accountable.

Feb 17, 2014

North Korea’s Kim warned he might face charges over atrocities

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korean security chiefs and possibly even Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un himself should face international justice for ordering systematic torture, starvation and mass killings bordering on genocide, U.N. investigators said on Monday.

The investigators told Kim in a letter they were advising the United Nations to refer North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC), to ensure any culprits “including possibly yourself” were held accountable.

Feb 17, 2014

North Korea says U.N. rights report based on ‘faked’ material

GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korea said on Monday a United Nations report on its human rights record due to be issued later in the day was based on material faked by hostile forces backed by the United States, the European Union and Japan.

A statement sent to Reuters from the Communist state’s diplomatic mission in Geneva said that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea “categorically and totally rejects the report,” drawn up by a three-member Commission of Inquiry.

Feb 14, 2014

Thousands flee Syrian town as ‘major assault’ looms

GENEVA (Reuters) – Thousands of people have fled a rebel-held town in Syria after it was bombed and shelled in an operation that has prompted fears of a major assault by ground troops, the United Nations said on Friday.

The fighting came as peace talks in Geneva neared the end of a second round with no sign of progress and with the government and opposition sides as far from agreement as ever, with both sticking to their known positions.

Feb 13, 2014

Syria ‘failure’ looms, mediator seeks US, Russian help

GENEVA (Reuters) – Warning that “failure” was staring him in the face, the Syria peace talks mediator said on Thursday that the United States and Russia had promised renewed support to keep their rival Syrian allies talking.

U.N. diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi met senior diplomats from Washington and Moscow in Geneva, hoping the co-sponsors of the three-week-old negotiating process could bury their own deep differences over Syria and prevail respectively on the opposition and government to move ahead and compromise.