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Haiti Says Lankan Troops Raped Even Minors

[The Sunday Leader.lk, Sunday, 11 September 2011 09:27 No Comment]

Officials in Haiti have said that UN peacekeeping soldiers from Sri Lanka who had been accused of sex-crimes in 2007 had even raped children as young as 7 years old.

The Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) was quoted by The New American website as saying that most of the 114 Sri Lankan soldiers deported to Sri Lanka from Haiti in 2007 for sexual abuse and rape were not punished. However army spokesman Brigadier H. A. Nihal Hapuarachchi told The Sunday Leader that the soldiers who were found guilty in the case have been prosecuted.

He said that a full inquiry had been carried out over the allegations and the legal process was followed to deal with those found guilty

The military spokesman further added that there was nothing pending in relation to the incident.

“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,” The New American website quoted Ezili Dantò, president of the Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network (HLLN) as saying. “Moreover, Sri Lankan soldiers were accused of systematically raping Haitian women and girls, some as young as 7 years old.”

The UN claims “dozens” of its soldiers had been punished for sexual abuses in the country in recent years. But based on publicly available figures, critics say many more have escaped justice, the website said.

“If only a dozen UN peacekeepers were punished for sexual abuse and rape, then that means, for instance, most of the 114 Sri Lankan soldiers deported back to Sri Lanka from Haiti in 2007 for sexual abuse and rape in Haiti did not get punished,” Dantò wrote citing other examples as well.

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