The government has consistently refused calls for independent investigations into its generation-long civil war, marked by widespread reports of rape camps, torture, mass killings and other alleged war crimes by its troops. This is a pattern repeated around the world: Strapped for troops, the U. draws recruits from many countries with poor human rights records for its peacekeeping program, budgeted at nearly billion this year. Sri Lanka must also establish its own screening process for the soldiers and "pre-deployment training by U. standards and specifications including conduct of discipline on human rights and on sexual exploitation and abuse," Haq said. As peacekeepers in Central African Republic, at least 17 have been accused of sexual abuse and exploitation. Secretary-General Kofi Annan understands the predicament. When fighting gripped Rwanda, he struggled to find peacekeepers to help stem what would later become a mass slaughter that killed an estimated 800,000 people. "And they are so desperate that they accept troops that they will normally not accept if they had the choice." ___ RAPE CAMPS In the case of the Haiti sex ring, nine children told U. investigators of being lured into having sex in exchange for food and then being passed from soldier to soldier.Asked about the AP's investigation on Friday and the U. officials with military records and personal information dating back to 2005 for all soldiers it plans to send on missions so they can be screened by the U. An AP investigation last month found that in the last 12 years up to March, an estimated 2,000 allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation have been leveled at U. The situation in Congo, meanwhile, is so complex the country is hosting a U. peacekeeping mission to manage its own violent conflict while also sending personnel on peacekeeping missions to other countries. One girl said she didn't even have breasts when she first had sex with a peacekeeper at age 12.
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Dias didn't talk to the accuser, he told The Associated Press, nor did he interview medical staff who examined her.
But he did clear his soldier, who remained in the Sri Lankan military.
When a Haitian teenager alleged that she had been raped and sodomised by a Sri Lankan peacekeeper, the government in Colombo dispatched a high-ranking general suspected of war crimes to lead the investigation.
"A suspected war criminal is the wrong person to conduct an investigation into alleged crimes committed by a peacekeeper," said Andreas Schuller, of the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights, a Berlin-based group which helped launch the complaint.
It was not the first time that accusations against Sri Lankan peacekeepers had been swept aside.
In 2007, a group of orphaned Haitian children identified 134 Sri Lankans who gave them food for sex in a child sex ring which went on for three years, an Associated Press investigation found.
It wasn't the first time that Sri Lankan soldiers were accused of sexual abuse: In 2007, a group of Haitian children identified 134 Sri Lankan peacekeepers in a child sex ring that went on for three years, the AP reported in April.
In that case, the Sri Lankan military repatriated 114 of the peacekeepers, but none was ever jailed.
The general sat on a plastic lawn chair in the garden of his mother's home, the scent of tropical blooms filling the air as he talked about the alleged rape and sodomy of a Haitian teenager by a Sri Lankan peacekeeper. He may not have been the best choice for that job — Dias had been accused of atrocities in his own country's vicious civil war.