Photo by Rajarata
Yet another contingent - the 10th such contingent - of Sri Lankan peacekeepers will soon be off to Haiti.
The contingent with a total of 52 Officers and 697 other rankers will take over duties from the Gajaba Regiment (GR) troops presently performing duties in Haiti.
The Passing-out parade of the contingent was held at Army Cantonment in Panagoda. The main composition consisted of Vijayaba Infantry Regiment (VIR) troops while a few service personnel from service and support arms also would leave for Haiti with them.
One recalls the allegations made in 2007 where Sri Lankan peacekeepers were accused of "rape" and "abuse" in Haiti. The truth however is that they were accused of transactional sex. Paying a prostitute for sex to put it in blunt terms.
This report by Reuters states the true allegations, which were allegations made against 108 peacekeepers who had paid for sex.
Not abuse or rape.
U.N. spokeswoman Michele Montas said on Friday 108 of Sri Lanka's 950 soldiers in Haiti were being sent home on disciplinary grounds.
"The United Nations and the Sri Lankan government deeply regret any sexual exploitation and abuse that has occurred," Montas told reporters, adding that U.N. authorities were working to assist the victims.
Asked about the specific allegations against the peacekeepers, Montas said they involved "transactional sex."
Let's also not forget that the allegations were never proven. Sri Lanka continues to send it's peacekeepers on missions to Haiti.
The allegations of abuse were not only made against Sri Lanka. Peacekeepers from other countries too have faced such similar allegations in the past. In many other cases action was taken and arrests were made.
No Sri Lankan peacekeeper was ever found guilty of abuse or rape. No Sri Lankan has been convicted.
This blog has a Tamil readership. I am keen on knowing how the Tamil media has portrayed to them, the above situation. How many of you were convinced Sri Lankan soldiers had raped and abused women and children in Haiti? I'm sure a large percentage swallowed it whole.
I have no ulterior motives. We have spoken intently in recent days on reconciliation to move on from civil war.
In order to reconcile our differences the hate we harboured based on lies must end genuinely.
Only by pointing out fact from lies can that be accomplished.