[JURIST] UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Thursday criticized [text] the state of human rights in Sri Lanka, Iran, and several other countries, while presenting her annual report [press release] to the 13th Session [official website] of the Human Rights Council [official website]. Pillay described mistreatment of the government's critics as a threat to peace in Sri Lanka, and strongly encouraged a full investigation into accusations of rights violations during the country's civil war. Additionally, she condemned Iran for the "arbitrary arrest" of, and and "harsh sentences, including capital punishment" given to, individuals involved in protests following the 2009 presidential elections [JURIST news archive]. The report [text, PDF] details her office's response to numerous human rights situations and emphasized the critical role of cooperation with the council's initiatives.
Sri Lanka has faced numerous allegations of human rights violations originating from incidents that took place during the final months of the civil war by both the government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) [JURIST news archive]. In October, the US State Department [official website] released a report [text, PDF] on the conflict, urging [JURIST report] Sri Lankan officials to investigate reports of human rights abuses and war crimes and to prosecute those responsible. While the government of Sri Lanka rejected [statement] the findings of the report, President Mahinda Rajapaksa [official website] decided in October to appoint an independent committee [JURIST report] to investigate allegations of human rights violations. The Iranian government continues to prosecute its citizens for their alleged roles in protesting the 2009 presidential elections. In December, Amnesty International [advocacy website] labeled [JURIST report] human rights abuses committed by the Iranian government following the election among the worst of the past 20 years. Alleged human rights violations of detainees include sexual assault, beatings, and forced confessions [JURIST reports].