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Sirisena blames ‘family of LTTE member at HRCSL’ for reporting on human rights abuses

Sri Lanka’s former president claimed that the appointment of a relative of an LTTE member to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) resulted in several reports of human rights abuses committed by the security forces reaching the United Nations, and the eventual vetting of Sri Lankan troops from UN peacekeeping missions.

"According to the HRCSL, there had been reports of harassment of people at Police stations, but the HRCSL had reported the matter to the United Nations' Human Rights Council before completing investigations into such matters," Maithripala Sirisena told the PCoI into the Easter Sunday attacks earlier this month.

The Daily Mirror reports that Sirisena claimed it was due to such reports that Sri Lankan troops “lost the opportunity to join the UN peacekeeping forces, which was a major source of earning foreign exchange”.

"I, therefore, summoned the then Chairperson of the HRCSL and asked what they were doing,” he continued. “Later I came to know that a member of the family of deceased LTTE member had been appointed to a high post in the HRCSL and that individual was the one who did such things.”

In 2017, the UN announced it was to ensure soldiers from Sri Lanka are vetted prior to joining the UN Peacekeeping force. Less than a year later, however, the HRCSL 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 2019, the UN announced that it will ban all “non-essential” Sri Lankan troops deployed on peacekeeping missions, in response to the appointment of accused war criminal Shavendra Silva as head of the country’s military. However, Sri Lanka’s Force Protection Company (SLFP-Coy), a military unit serving under the United Nations’ Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) conducted jointed military exercises with the Lebanese army despite human right concerns relating to Sri Lanka’s military.

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