Official Statement on alleged sexual allegations against an employee of Sri Lanka Red Cross

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

ISSUED ON 20th OCTOBER 2015.

Colombo, Sri Lanka: In early October, the SLRCS Kilinochchi Branch received a written complaint from a Red Cross beneficiary, that a SLRCS technical officer requested sexual favours in return for faster process of payments of a cash grant to rebuild her house. The woman in question had qualified for the grant under the Red Cross Post-Conflict Recovery Programme in Mulakavil, Kilinochchi. The programme is funded by the Indian Government.

The SLRCS and IFRC take any allegation of this nature extremely seriously and appropriate action was immediately taken to investigate the complaint.

The President of SLRCS launched an inquiry which was carried out by several members of SLRCS Governing Board who visited Kilinochchi. However, this initial inquiry proved inconclusive.

The President and the office of the IFRC in Sri Lanka then launched a second inquiry and appointed a five person panel which was comprised of men and women from the IFRC and from the SLRCS headquarters and branches. A representative from the Consulate General of India  in Jaffna also joined the panel as an observer.

The panel began its inquiry on 11 October in Kilinochchi. They interviewed the beneficiary who made the complaint and 15 other people: including nine SLRCS staff members.

On 16 October, the panel sent its findings to the President of SLRCS.

In its conclusions, the panel found no credible evidence to support the complaint relating to misconduct on the part of the SLRCS technical officer. The panel did find that the allegations had an internal dimension which will be addressed in accordance with the constitution of the SLRCS.

The Red Cross believes that it is vitally important to ensure transparency in responding to such a complaint. Despite the fact that no evidence was found from the inquiry to support the allegation that was leveled, under the instructions of the President of SLRCS, the report and documents from the inquiry was handed over to the Ministry of Law & Order & Prison Reforms on 20th October 2015, in the event that they decide to take the matter further.

Additional Information

  • As part of the Post Conflict rehabilitation efforts, Government of India in 2010 has committed to construct 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka. SLRCS & IFRC is one of the implementing agencies of the programme and is supporting to construct 17,500 new houses & 400 repairs.
  • As per the programme LKR 550,000 is provided in 4 installments based on the construction progress to beneficiaries of this project. The installments are directly transferred by the Indian High Commission to the beneficiaries. The Red Cross do not at any point get involved in providing cash directly to beneficiaries. We only provide the technical support and verify the progress of the construction to the Indian High Commission.
  • So far, the Programme has completed more than 14,500 houses, thereby providing permanent homes to more  than 80,000 people. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2015.
  • The Programme, from the inception, was designed in a manner that ensured beneficiaries have a voice and a platform to discuss and bring to light injustices that occur during the implementation of such a massive project.
  • Our Beneficiary Communications Programme seeks to ensure that an individual who is to benefit from this project can voice their grievances to the Red Cross at any part of the programme while ensuring steps will be taken to rectify the matter.
  • The Post-Conflict Recovery Programme of SLRCS operates in all five districts of the north which are Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Jaffna and Mannar.
  • For more information, visit www.redcross.lk/idp

Any queries on this matter please refer them to 

Mr. Mahieash JOHNNEY 
Senior Manager for Communications & Humanitarian Diplomacy
Sri Lanka Red Cross & International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies
Sri Lanka Delegation
104, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 07
mahieash.johnney@ifrc.org  | +94 773 502 156

Mr. Naveendra SENARATHNE 
Media Focal Point
Sri Lanka Red Cross Society
104, Dharmapala Mawatha, Colombo 07
naveendra.senarathne@www.redcross.lk | +94 773 171 087

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