HRCSL slams false media reports | Sunday Observer

HRCSL slams false media reports

8 September, 2019

Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka issuing a release yesterday slammed false media reports accusing the body of delaying the vetting process of the UN Peacekeeping deployments.

While emphasizing that a considerable amount of time and resources are expended by the Commission in executing the vetting process of contingents deployed on UN peacekeeping mission, the Human Rights body expressed disappointment about various media outlets publishing false information in the past. “In response to which the Commission has had to rebut inaccurate news reports on several occasions,” the release said.

“The citizens of Sri Lanka are entitled to receive true and accurate information,” it said adding that to avoid the potential negative view that could be held by the public regarding the functions of the commission, it aims at placing accurate information regarding the vetting process.

The HRCSL emphasized that a considerable amount of time and resources are expended in executing the vetting process, and attention to detail is paid during the procedure, in order to ensure the integrity of this process and render justice to all troops.

“It should be noted that the failure of the Commission to uphold the credibility of the vetting process would risk jeopardizing the opportunity granted to Sri Lanka to participate in UN Peacekeeping Operations,” the release further added.

The release noted that the United Nations entrusted the vetting process to a national entity for the first time, and the HRCSL was assigned this responsibility because of its commitment to maintaining its status as an independent institution. “Hence, the Commission agreed to execute the vetting process, despite the fact it is outside the direct mandate of the Commission,” it said.

However, the HRCSL noted it had to stop the vetting process on several occasions due to confusion. Giving an example the release said “Accordingly, on February 2 2017, the Sri Lanka Army handed over relevant documents of 200 army personnel who wished to be deployed for the UN Peacekeeping mission in Mali, to the HRCSL. However, while the Commission was in the process of conducting the vetting of 200 troops, members of the Sri Lanka Army informed the Commission that they had already received clearance from United Nations ahead of the Commission’s clearance. Due to the resultant confusion, the Commission in writing informed the parties concerned that the vetting process was halted.”

According to the HRCSL, all stakeholders are aware of the facts pertaining to this matter, and following the issuance of vetting results for the priority lists of 9 groups, 632 officers from 6 groups have been deployed for Peacekeeping Missions.

“The Commission denounces the false reports issued by several media outlets, despite all relevant entities being aware of the facts associated with the process of vetting,” it said adding that false reporting creates a negative perception of the Commission in the public view, thereby misleading the citizens of Sri Lanka.