2 November 2007
Secretary-General
SG/SM/11254
PKO/172

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

ACCUSED MEMBERS OF SRI LANKAN BATTALION IN HAITI TO BE REPATRIATED AS OFFICE


OF INTERNAL OVERSIGHT PROBES SEXUAL EXPLOITATION ALLEGATIONS


The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:


The United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has received allegations of incidents of sexual exploitation and abuse by members of MINUSTAH’s Sri Lankan Battalion (SriBat) stationed in a number of locations in Haiti.  MINUSTAH requested an immediate investigation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and Sri Lanka dispatched a high-level national investigative team from Colombo, including a female investigative officer.  Following receipt of the preliminary OIOS report, and with the cooperation of the Sri Lankan authorities, all accused SriBat members will be repatriated on disciplinary grounds on Saturday, 3 November.  Issues of command accountability within the contingent will be addressed by the Mission in cooperation with the Sri Lankan authorities.


The United Nations has been in close consultation with the Sri Lankan authorities at high levels and will continue to provide all possible assistance to the Government of Sri Lanka as it undertakes appropriate disciplinary measures to address this serious issue at the national level.


The United Nations and Sri Lanka take this matter very seriously and reiterate their shared commitment both to the Secretary-General’s zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, and to best practices in peacekeeping.  The United Nations and the Sri Lankan Government deeply regret any sexual exploitation and abuse that has occurred, despite their efforts to ensure the highest standards of conduct and discipline.   Sri Lanka is a long-standing and important troop-contributing country with a history of dedicated service with United Nations peacekeeping missions, particularly in Haiti.


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For information media • not an official record