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Accused war criminal sends off Sri Lankan troops to UN peacekeeping mission

Sri Lanka's army commander saw off a group of soldiers earlier this week, who are off to join a UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, despite human rights concerns. 

Last year, the UN announced it would ban all "non-essential" Sri Lankan troops in response to the appointment of Shavendra Silva, due to his abysmal human rights record. 

Silva led Sri Lanka's 58th Division, an army unit which has been accused of mass atrocities and violations of international law during the 2009 military offensive that saw the killing of tens of thousands of Tamils. The 58th Division has been accused of repeatedly bombing hospitals, widespread sexual violence, torture and the execution of surrendering Tamils. 

Sri Lanka's army has also been accused of human tights violations abroad. In 2007, over 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers were identified as being part of a child sex ring that operated for three years during a UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti. Officers were accused of exchanging money and food for sex with girls and boys as young as 12. Most of the accused were repatriated but none of them were criminally prosecuted. 





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