Nov 15, New York: A senior United Nation official today pledged to use an internal review report on the global agency's performance during the last stage of Sri Lanka's three-decade long war with the Tamil Tiger terrorists to better its service to the world.
Addressing a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York, Charles Petrie, head of the Internal Review Panel on UN Action in Sri Lanka said the UN is committed to using an internal review which found that the world body failed to meet its responsibilities during the final months of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009 in order to improve how it works and to better serve those in need.
The report made public by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday (November 14) concluded that the "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 UN Chief set up the Internal Review Panel chaired by Mr. Petrie to review the role of the world organization following the findings of the three-member Panel of Experts appointed by him raised a number of significant issues, including those regarding the United Nations response to the civilian situation in northern Sri Lanka during the bloody final months of the war that ended in May 2009.
After an 8-month long study, the Internal Review Panel has 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 UN's failure to adequately respond to events like those that occurred in Sri Lanka should not happen again. When confronted by similar situations, the UN must be able to meet a much higher standard in fulfilling its protection and humanitarian responsibilities," said the report.
Addressing the same news conference Thursday, the Secretary-General's Chef de Cabinet, Susana Malcorra, reiterated the Secretary-General's resolve to draw appropriate lessons from the report to do "its utmost to earn the confidence of the world's people," and said this is a moment for "strong introspection" for the world body.
"We are absolutely guided by his decision to look into the recommendations and make sure that we thoroughly review them and implement them to strengthen the system at large," she stated.
Ms. Malcorra noted that the report highlights areas of improvement for the system to work and deliver better.
"The Organization is in the process of putting together a group of senior advisors to review the report's recommendations and figure out how to move forward," she added.
"We will be finalizing the composition of the working group in the next few days," Ms. Malcorra said.
Ms. Malcorra added that the report is "clear proof" of Secretary-General's commitment to the principles of accountability and transparency, and that while it is "painful" to realize one's shortcomings, the UN owes it to itself, and more importantly to those it serves, to find ways to improve and work better in the future.