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Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Canada rejects allegation of army abuses

Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Canada, Ahmed A Jawad rejected allegations that the Sri Lankan military has committed war crimes and crimes against humanity against Tamils. 

His comments were in response to an article written by the Canadian MP, Gary Anandasangaree entitled 'Sri Lanka's military aren't ready to be peacekeepers', which highlighted the lack of justice for crimes committed by the military against Tamils, as well as against civilians in Haiti whilst the military was deployed as UN peacekeepers. 

This week the Associated Press published an extensive feature detailing reports of ongoing torture and rape committed by Sri Lankan authorities against Tamils. 

Mr Jawad said, "the Government’s commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights; ending impunity; upholding the rule of law; strengthening good governance and democracy; fostering reconciliation and sustainable peace; and ensuring equitable and inclusive development, for the benefit of all citizens, is firm."

The ambassador expressed regret over what he describes as the "errant actions of a few" soldiers in Haiti.

"Sri Lanka values its membership in the UN which spans over 60 years, and is committed to contributing positively to its work. Sri Lanka’s contribution to the work of the UN, for long years, is well acknowledged. Since the election of President Maithripala Sirisena in January 2015, and the formation of the National Unity Government, Sri Lanka’s engagement with the UN has been renewed, reflecting the vision of the Government and the people of the country to re-engage with the international community and contribute to the UN’s multifaceted agenda including peacebuilding, peacekeeping, and sustainable development."

"“In keeping with this commitment, Sri Lanka works closely with the UN, and has put in place stringent vetting procedures for military personnel who are deployed to UN peacekeeping missions. Most recently, in order to ensure that all possible steps are taken to ensure the effectiveness of the screening procedure, the National Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka was invited to also be part of this process. In September 2015, Sri Lanka endorsed the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians; in August 2017, Sri Lanka pledged a contribution of US $ 10,000 to the UN Trust Fund in support of Victims of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse; in September 2017 Sri Lanka joined an initiative of the UN Secretary-General to sign a Compact to eliminate sexual exploitation and abuse; and demonstrating firm commitment, Sri Lanka also joined the Secretary-Generals ‘Circle of Leadership on the prevention of and response to sexual exploitation and abuse in UN operations’. This month, Sri Lanka endorsed the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and use of Child Soldiers."