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Sri Lanka forces fire into Haitian civilians

In Haiti on November 10, United Nations peacekeepers from Sri Lanka fired live ammunition resulting in injuries to civilians, reported Inner City Press.


Sri Lanka contributes a large number of peacekeepers to the Haiti mission. Previously they have been accused of raping local women and girls.


Inner City Press asked spokesperson Michele Montas about the incident, and about UN peacekeepers using live ammunition instead of rubber bullets. Inner City Press also asked about the credibility of previous UN investigations.


Ms. Montas replied that after an emergency landing, "some Haitians entered the helicopter," reported Inner City Press.


She said a person in the helicopter fired and a cartridge hit a civilian. She also said that "a person in the plane shot in the air."


Shooting in the air is the protocol, Ms. Montas answered, when questioned by Inner City Press about whether it is UN protocol to shoot live ammunition in the air.


This is reminiscent of the incident in 2008 during the Security Council's visit to Goma in the Congo, where a UN security official shot his weapon in the plane to try to show that it was empty, triggering an all night bus ride by Ambassador to Kigali, Rwanda, the press site reported.


Later on November 20, Inner City Press spoke with a senior UN peacekeeping official, who explained that UN Formed Police Units have rubber bullets, but that in this case is was "military people."


Reportedly, these were Sri Lankan soldiers, in all probability previously involved in the conflict in northern Sri Lanka in which the U.S. and others have found presumptive war crimes, reported Inner City Press.


UN officials in New York and Port au Prince have reportedly received a letter that in 2005 "a Jordanian soldier's brutal rape and sodomizing a Haitian mother of five in Haiti. The report was sent to the UN, the victim complained to the UN.”


The investigation process never led to a resolution that was ever revealed to the victim, Inner City Press reported.


In 2007, it was discovered and reported that girls as young as 13 were having sex with U.N. peacekeepers for as little as $1 in Haiti.


Sri Lankan soldiers were accused of systematically raping Haitian women and girls, some as young as 7 years old.


The UN still refuses to disclose the outcome of its repatriation from Haiti of over 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers on allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation.


No action has been taken against those responsible for any of these actions, Inner City Press noted.

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