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Human Rights Commission slams Sri Lankan military over peacekeeper deployment

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has slammed the Sri Lankan military for deploying peacekeepers to take part in a UN mission in Lebanon, before human rights vetting of military personnel could be completed.

In a letter to the Sri Lankan president, HRCSL Chairperson Deepika Udagama said that though the military had agreed to vet 204 soldiers who were due to be deployed to Lebanon, a group of 49 were already deployed before the process could be completed. They only learnt of the deployment through a “media statement”.

“We were astonished in this regard since the Army was clearly aware that no army personnel could be deployed for UN peacekeeping operations without being subjected to vetting by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka,” the letter said. “Further, the Commission was not informed that the said group of 49 personnel had to deployed to Lebanon early.”

“Deploying soldiers who have not undergone the vetting process is a complete violation of the agreement made with the Human Rights Commission,” it added.

See the full text of the letter here.

At least 100 members of Sri Lanka’s peacekeeping mission were implicated in a child sex abuse ring in Haiti whilst being deployed in Haiti.

UN resolution 30/1 on accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka also asked for Sri Lanka’s military forces to be vetted of personnel responsible for rights violations in its armed ethnic conflict before deploying personnel on UN missions.