Sunday, November 22, 2009

In Haiti, UN's Sri Lankan Peacekeepers Shoot Live Ammo at Crowd

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.

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.
Meanwhile the UN has still refused to disclose the outcome of its repatriation from Haiti of over 100 Sri Lankan peacekeepers on allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation. It's said that in the future, aggregate data will be reported, either by Peacekeeping Mission or Troop Contributing Country, but not both.

© Inner City Press

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