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In Haiti, Sri Lankan UN Peacekeepers Shoot Live Ammo as Crowd Control

[Inner City Press, Sunday, 22 November 2009 16:31 No Comment]

In Haiti on November 10, UN peacekeepers fired live ammunition resulting in injuries to civilians. Inner City Press asked spokesperson Michele Montas about the incident, and about UN peacekeepers using live ammunition instead of rubber bullets. Video here, from Minute 12:31. Inner City Press also asked about the credibility of previous UN investigations.

Ms. Montas replied that after an emergency landing, "some Haitians entered the helicopter." She said a person in the helicopter fired and a cartridge hit a civilian. She also said that "a person in the plane.. shot in the air." (This is reminiscent of the incident in 2008 during the Security Council’s visit to Goma in the Congo, where a UN security official shot his weapon in the plane to try to show that it was empty, triggering an all night bus ride by Ambassador to Kigali, Rwanda.)

Inner City Press asked if it is UN protocol to shoot live ammunition in the air. Shooting in the air is the protocol, Ms. Montas answered.

Later on November 20, Inner City Press spoke with a senior UN peacekeeping official, who explained that UN Formed Police Units have rubber bullets, but that in this case is was "military people."

Reportedly, these were Sri Lankan soldiers, in all probability previously involved in the conflict in norther Sri Lanka in which the U.S. and others have found presumptive war crimes.

UN officials in New York and Port au Prince have reportedly received a letter that in 2005 "a Jordanian soldier’s brutal rape and sodomizing a Haitian mother of five in Haiti. The report was sent to the UN, the victim complained to the UN. The investigation process never led to a resolution that was ever revealed to… the victim. In 2007, it was discovered and reported that girls as young as 13 were having sex with U.N. peacekeepers for as little as $1 in Haiti. Moreover, Sri Lankan soldiers were accused of systematically raping Haitian women and girls, some as young as 7 years old."

And what have they done about it so far? Nothing, apparently.

[Full Coverage]

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