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Sri Lankan soldiers leave for Mali amid ongoing reports of torture and rape

Sri Lankan army soldiers are set to leave on a new peacekeeping mission despite ongoing reports of torture and rape committed against Tamils. 

The use of the Sri Lankan soldiers for peacekeeping missions has been widely criticised by Tamil rights groups as well as international human rights organisations following the lack of accountability for crimes committed against Tamils in the final stages of the armed conflict as well as documented cases of sexual violence in Haiti. 

Asked about the UN's vetting processes, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General, Stéphane Dujarric said last month that staff would be "taking into account" a report published by the Associated Press in early November documented recent rape and torture of Tamils by Sri Lankan security forces when assessing troops to serve as UN peacekeepers. 

"As a matter of course, there is screening done in partnership with DPKO [Department of Peacekeeping Operations] and DFS [Department of Field Support] on ensuring that none of the troops that are committed to UN peacekeeping have any human rights abuses, allegations or issues hanging over their head.  So, that's a screening process," Mr Dujarric said. 

Two hundred soldiers of the Combat Convoy Company (CCC) are to leave early this month and will be stationed in Mali for one year, the army's website reported