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Jan-11-2012 14:07printcomments

While UN Claims Zero Tolerance, No Discipline of Sri Lankan Abusers in Haiti

"... despite the promises to investigate and prosecute the crimes in Sri Lanka, no information is readily available..." - UN report

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka "helps" in Haiti, discipline for abuse not shown, not even claimed. UN Photo

(GENEVA) - As the UN praises its own response to the earthquake in Haiti two years ago and even the cholera epidemic the UN alleged brought after that, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky on Tuesday could not say if even one of the 114 Sri Lanka soldiers repatriated for pedophilia had been disciplined.

As stated in a report prepared for the UN Human Rights Council, 111 soldiers and 3 officers from MINUSTAH’s Sri Lankan battalion were repatriated due to allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse of Haitian minors. The UN's then spokeswoman Michele Montas described the allegations as transactional sex with underage girls, and also stated that once returned to national jurisdiction, Sri Lanka would pursue the case.

On Tuesday, Inner City Press asked Montas' successor Nesirky about the Sri Lanka case, after requesting an update on previous Nesirky responses about alleged abuse by Brazilian MINUSTAH peacekeepers:

    Inner City Press: it is Haiti time now, the two year anniversary, is there any additional information about the incident in which the Brazilian peacekeepers were accused of beating the water delivery men; at the time it was said it was going to be looked into, I believe, by MINUSTAH, as well as the Brazilians. Is there any finding?

    Spokesperson: I think as we mentioned, since the allegations were made the case and the allegations were referred to the Brazilian authorities. And I think it would be good for you to check whether the Brazilian authorities have any follow up on that. If we hear anything separately, then of course I will let you know.

    Inner City Press: Does that mean the UN peacekeeping mission sends people out but even the investigation is outsourced to the TCC [troop contributing country] itself, what does it mean for the UN to say there is a zero tolerance, if it has no role in investigating, much less prosecuting alleged wrong doing?

    Spokesperson: Well, first of all, just as I have mentioned with regard to the case that involves the Uruguayan peacekeepers, MINUSTAH is actively engaged in liaising with the Haitian government to try to help the efforts of the Uruguayan authorities. Zero tolerance policy means what it says. Despite what you may think, Matthew, it means what it says. The troop-contributing countries do have the sovereign responsibility for their service personnel serving in UN peacekeeping missions. And the Secretary-General and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations believes very strongly that zero tolerance means precisely that and there must be accountability. When allegations are made and people are found guilty, then there must be accountability for that.

    Inner City Press: there was a repatriation of some 90 or some Sri Lankan peacekeepers. And it has never been said whether in fact anyone was ever prosecuted. Does the UN know whether, in fact, there was ever any prosecution brought in those cases, and is it possible to say publicly, so that zero tolerance would be assessed?

    Spokesperson: Let me check. As you also know, there are rather extensive records kept on allegation cases, and then the follow up, it is as I have said on a number of occasions, including today, it is a matter for the troop-contributing countries; it’s a matter for them; it’s their sovereign responsibility. And it is under their national legislation. That doesn’t mean that the United Nations is not interested; and doesn’t follow up, but it does fall within the jurisdiction of national authorities. The zero tolerance policy really is a crucial facet of the peacekeeping role that the United Nations has and the Secretary-General and the Department of Peacekeeping Operations will continue to underscore that.

But how is it "zero tolerance" if no one is convicted, or even fully brought to trial?

The report continues that:

"... despite the promises to investigate and prosecute the crimes in Sri Lanka, no information is readily available on the status of the investigation or prosecution there either. The organizations producing this report were unable to obtain further information upon inquiry to Sri Lankan officials. Nor is there any information on the extent to which the Government of Haiti has sought information on these statuses. The results of any investigations that might occur are certainly not made known to Haitian victims, thereby precluding possibility of reparative damages or sense of justice for these crimes."

And so it goes with this UN.

Special thanks to Inner City Press

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Sanjib September 22, 2012 5:01 pm (Pacific time)

Apr09nrejones satori;1579083 wrote: The facts are that we are oebigatld to do exactly that under conventions and treaties that we originally wrote. Are you suggesting that Australia should withdraw from all international treaties dealing with the protection of refugees?I still stand by the fact that almost all intergrated immigrants, and certainly all refugees, to this country have been fed and sheltered on someone elses dime for at least some time, and that this is not a bad thing. Even convicts were fed. I think the benefits that these people have gone on to provide to our society vastly outweighs any initial cost.If we were to have implemented your personal strategy of accepting only those who can afford rent on day one, we would all be worse off, if indeed we were here at all.I apologize for insinuating that you are racist, because I now understand that had you been alive in post war Australia, you would also have been calling for those attempting to escape the famine in Europe, to also go home. I see that it is not about your racism against towelheads or brown people. You would have called for all the non paying Italians, Greeks, and other nationalities to go back where they came from.Genuine refugees who need protection from physical harm are one thing. Other migrants and people who come here for a cushy government-subsidised lifestyle are another. Convicts were fed but they also built infrastructure for the country in back-breaking labour, hardly a salient point.What if the citizens every less fortunate country, decided to leave and go where the grass is greener instead of staying and building up a country others are envious of and want to move to?My ancestors were in part irish, they were persecuted by the british here for taxes and protection payments, they did not cry persecution' and flee to another country. They stayed, endured it built lives and prospered.VA:F [1.9.16_1159](from 0 votes)

anonimous January 13, 2012 6:24 am (Pacific time)

Well My Dear Mr Tim King,
It shows how much pain you have taken to put forward the allegations against our motherland and its troops as a crtiticiser. But it dont show the quality as a media person to check what actions have been taken against those alleged troops. The person you refferred in the report may not known. There are only six persobns have been charged for alleged misconduct. I think your intention to blame our little country would not materialize as you have not given the true facts. So my dear Mr KING, try harder to convince the readers who have brains and remember when you eat grass, it results Dung in your ablutions. Good try MR KING. try more harder. God Bless you!!!!

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