The head of the Sri Lankan army confirmed that hundreds of troops are currently on UN peacekeeping missions around the world, in a press release that praised the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) for carrying out a “domestic” screening mechanism.
“As at present, troops of Sri Lanka Army deployed in 06 UN missions and working as Staff Officers in the UN Headquarters – New York,” said a military press release.
“There more than 400 troops deployed as members of three contingents in Lebanon, South Sudan and Mali, and 35 officers serving as Staff Officers and Military Observers in number of UN missions and also in the UN headquarters – New York. There have been altogether more than 18600 troops have served as UN peacekeepers.”
The press release went on to claim that the screening of Sri Lankan peacekeepers is a “practice throughout in UN for all nationals” and praised the HRCSL for its role.
“It is the opinion of the Sri Lanka Army that we as Sri Lankans, should be proud that UN selected HRCSL, our own organization, to carry out the domestic mechanism in HR screening process,” it said.
The statement comes after several Sri Lankan leaders rejected a UN resolution that mandated a hybrid mechanism with international judges to prosecute for mass atrocities, charges for which several Sri Lankan military leaders stand accused of overseeing.
Sri Lankan troops were referred to the HRCSL last year for vetting before being deployed on missions worldwide. 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.