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Sri Lanka conducts joint military exercise with UN peacekeepers in Lebanon despite human rights concerns

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.

Sri Lankan troops are currently deployed in UN missions based in Lebanon, South Sudan, Mali and the Western Sahara. This deployment follows a ban of 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.

Sri Lanka’s military has been accused of a litany human rights abuses both within Sri Lanka as well as abroad during peacekeeping operations.

During 2004 to 2006, at least 134 Sri Lankan soldiers were implicated in a child sex ring in Haiti, where “girls as young as 11 were sexually abused and impregnated by peacekeepers and . . . ‘left in misery’ to raise their children alone”.

The paedophilic sex ring directly implicated Sri Lankan soldiers in the exploitation of nine children. Following these revelations, Sri Lanka’s military repatriated 114 of the soldiers but none have ever been prosecuted.

According to a study published in The Conversation, Sri Lankan forces have fathered hundreds of babies with young mothers - sometimes through sexual violence - before abandoning them.

The five-day-long exercise, with the Lebanese army, involved the use of four Armoured Personnel Carriers mounted with machine guns, five Multipurpose Machine Guns and ten personal weapons.

Read more on the Sri Lankan Military’s website.

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