Sri Lanka and UN discuss decision on peacekeepers

The Government is in talks with the United Nations over the decision taken to suspend the deployment of Sri Lankan troops for UN Peacekeeping operations.

Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha is to meet the Under Secretary General of the UN Department of Peace Operations in New York tomorrow to discuss the issue.

A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry said that following the statement of the Deputy Spokesman for the UN Secretary General yesterday (25 September 2019) that the UN Department of Peace Operations has decided to repatriate a Sri Lankan Army unit and individual officers currently serving with UN Peacekeeping due to concerns on the appointment of Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva as the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, the Government of Sri Lanka is in discussion on this issue with the UN.

Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs who is leading the Sri Lanka delegation to the 74th General Assembly Session is scheduled to discuss this matter with the Under Secretary General of the UN Department of Peace Operations, on Friday, 27 September 2019, the Foreign Ministry said.

UN spokesman Farhan Haq said that Sri Lanka currently provides uniformed military personnel to six UN peacekeeping operations.

“We are grateful for these contributions to UN peace operations, particularly in some of the UN’s most complex missions,” he said.

He said that in light of the UN’s commitment to the highest human rights standards for all personnel deployed on UN peace operations, the UN had expressed concerns to the Government of Sri Lanka over the appointment of Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva to the position of Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, despite well-documented, credible allegations of his involvement in serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.

In light of this appointment, the UN Department of Peace Operations is therefore suspending future Sri Lankan Army deployments except where suspension would expose UN operations to serious operational risk. (Colombo Gazette)

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