UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said that troop contributors have a responsibility to certify that none of the soldiers that are being deployed from wherever they come from have ever been implicated in any sexual abuse, and so the UN would expect Sri Lanka and all other troop contributors to do the same.
“As you know, there was no deployment of Sri Lankan peacekeepers for a long time. The issue of impunity of peacekeepers who committed horrendous crimes, who violated the trust given to them and were not persecuted is one of the reasons, and one of the many reasons, this Secretary‑General and his predecessor have pushed for greater accountability and have pushed for greater partnership for Member States. And Member States have not always given us the information we needed. So I would urge you to check with, with the Sri Lankans,” he said.
Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley urged all countries that provide troops for U.N. peacekeeping missions to hold soldiers accountable for sexual abuse and exploitation, an appeal that came after she cited an Associated Press investigation into a child sex ring in Haiti involving Sri Lankan peacekeepers.
She also warned that “countries that refuse to hold their soldiers accountable must recognize that this either stops or their troops will go home and their financial compensation will end.”
“What do we say to these kids? Did these peacekeepers keep them safe?” Haley asked, citing the AP’s investigation detailing how at least 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers sexually abused and exploited nine Haitian children between 2004 and 2007.
Sri Lanka never jailed any soldiers implicated in the abuse yet the country was allowed to send troops to other U.N. missions.
Nine children in the Haiti sex ring — some as young as 12 — told U.N. investigators how Sri Lankan peacekeepers offered them snacks or money for sex. One boy said he had sex with as many as 100 soldiers, averaging about four per day. (Colombo Gazette)