The Sri Lanka Army today assured that it would fully cooperate with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) to resolve pending screening issues of UN peacekeepers.
In a statement, the Army said the bilateral understanding and coordination of the two entities would enable both parties to sort out the pending issues amicably as early as possible.
“To be in line with the UN Secretary General’s decision in relation to ‘screening of UN personnel for Human Rights’, the Sri Lanka Army, consequent upon discussions with the Defence Ministry, Foreign Affairs Ministry, the UN Department of Peace Keeping Operations (UNDPKO) and the HRCSL resolved that an own national mechanism be followed with respect to independent screening of personnel through the HRCSL.
Accordingly, this national process of screening which needs the fullest cooperation of both the HRCSL and the armed forces for vetting UN bound own members came into effect early this year, although previous such clearance procedures were executed by authorities in the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva,” the Army said.
It said the Sri Lanka Army had accordingly begun the submission of details of Army personnel selected for UN missions for HRCSL’s independent vetting.
In the meantime, UNDPKO in constant touch with the Sri Lanka Army has been inquiring into reasons, attributable to delayed dispatches of Sri Lankan troops for scheduled rotational releases as agreed upon.
“The Sri Lanka Army would always cooperate with the HRCSL for clearance of any backlog since information that had been produced by the Army for screening in some cases could also contain shortcomings, complications, discrepancies, due to operational commitments, change of residential addresses, etc,” the Army said.
At present, Sri Lankan troops, majority being from the Sri Lanka Army have been deployed in Lebanon (UNIFIL), South Sudan (UNMISS), Mali (MINUSMA), Abyei (UNISFA), New York (UNHQ), Central African Republic (MINUSCA) and Western Sahara (MINURSO), either as military observers, liaison officers, staff officers, staff officer assistants or general contingent troops for peace keeping. To-date a total of 450 Sri Lankan peace keepers are serving 7 UN peace keeping overseas missions under the UNDPKO.