UN screens SL Peacekeeping troops for human rights violations - Stéphane Dujarric

Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam to UN article.

The UN screens Sri Lankan troops being selected for peacekeeping posts for human rights abuses and allegations, UN Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said at a press briefing on November 8. He was responding to an agency press report saying that more than 50 Tamil men have been tortured and sexually abused by Sri Lankan Police and Military since early 2016.

Many of the men are seeking political asylum in Europe, and bear scars and burns on their bodies, according to the report. They told the agency press, they were accused of being affiliated with or trying to revive the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

“There is screening done in partnership with the (Department of Peacekeeping Operations) and the (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,” Dujarric said.

Responding to the article, Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam said that the National Unity Government “is committed, as promised to the people of the country, to work towards reconciliation, good governance, rule of law, and the promotion and protection of human rights.”

Kariyawasam said that the government has taken numerous concrete steps to prevent the commission of torture. This year, disciplinary action has been taken against 33 police officers for assault and torture, and one officer has been dismissed, Kariyawasam said in a written statement. 100 cases are still pending, he added, and 28 cases of assault and torture have been received since January.

“The Government seeks the assistance and cooperation of all those relevant parties in this endeavour, including parties outside the country, as evidence is key in the conduct of investigations,” Kariyawasam said. 

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