UN’s Ban calls for halt in bloodshed in Ukraine
Friday, February 21, 2014
By Erol Avdovic
NEW YORK, UNITED NATIONS - Urging all parties to resume a genuine dialogue right away, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appealed Thursday for restraint in Ukraine.
Ban asked for “all involved to cease the violence, and for the Ukrainian authorities to refrain from excessive use of force.” He continued, “I am appalled by the use of firearms by both the police and protesters.”
Ban, speaking in front of the Security Council, said he has been in contact with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych regarding the country’s unrest.
The UN said various efforts from the EU, the Russian Federation and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are available to help Ukraine cope with this situation.
Chief UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said Ban offered to send UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to Kiev to promote the dialogue there. He also stressed that when Ban met Yanukovych in Sochi, the United Nations made their offices available to both sides if they requested it.
“The situation is serious and warrants immediate attention to restore peace,” Pilay told UN Radio on Thursday.
On her part, Pilay readily acknowledges “the challenges that the government is facing, including violence from protestors” which has resulted in many deaths and injuries, including 47 journalists. However, she said “all evidence points to those being perpetrated by law enforcement officials.”
“I’m not as yet calling for an independent investigation, but I am offering to assist the authorities in Ukraine to conduct impartial investigations,” Pilay noted.
The top UN officials urged Ukrainian authorities to investigate cases of deaths, disappearances and human rights violations, and “to place human rights at the center of any solutions.”
After the latest outburst of violence in Ukraine overnight, Ban was “increasingly alarmed by the level of bloodshed" and added "Obviously this has to stop immediately ,” Nesirky told reporters during the daily UN press briefing on Thursday.
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