Army defends delay in deployment of UN peacekeepers

The Sri Lanka Army today defended the delay to deploy peacekeepers for UN operations.

In a statement, the Sri Lanka Army said it considers it important that the personnel deployed for UN missions at all levels should be individuals of the highest integrity and maintain the highest standards of conduct at all times.

“As you would be aware, there have been certain instances in the past where personnel from Sri Lanka deployed in UN missions have not maintained the standards expected of them and disciplinary action has had to be taken in accordance with the relevant and applicable legal provisions. There have also been instances when personnel nominated for deployment have been found to have allegations of misconduct against them,” the Army headquarters said.

Sri Lanka at present seeks to enhance and expand its participation in UN peacekeeping. Such expansion of Sri Lanka’s participation which would entrust Sri Lanka Security Forces with responsibilities of an international scale have to be carried out in coordination and in cooperation with the United Nations and Sri Lanka’s bilateral partners, and it is the responsibility of the sending country (i.e. Sri Lanka) to ensure that the personnel deployed are Sri Lanka’s best.

“We are mindful therefore, of the need to provide them pre-deployment training including in conduct and discipline, and awareness-raising regarding investigation and disciplinary measures that they would be compelled to face if they do not comply with the high standards expected of them in their respective international roles,” the Army said.

The Army headquarters said that all agencies in Sri Lanka consider the country’s reform agenda of good governance, right to information, rule of law, and human rights with due seriousness.

“Greater engagement with the international community and assuming greater responsibility in the international arena is a part of this reform agenda. In this context, in the field of peacekeeping, Sri Lanka seeks to work with the United Nations to set standards and examples for other States to consider following as well,” the Army said. (Colombo Gazette)