| A statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
(January 05, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) On the 2nd January a man by the name of Mohammad Nistar was abducted by a group who arrived in a white van from San Gartikulam at Puttalam. According to reports at the time of the abduction Mr. Nistar was traveling in a three-wheeler. Sometime later his body was found with bullets wounds to the head. According to reports Mr. Nistar was engaged in the rehabilitation of drug addicts at a centre in the area.
A victim of a past white van abduction
by Sri Lanka’s govt. – File Photo
No one has been arrested for this abduction and murder.
The abductions, sometimes ending in disappearances or murder have been a common occurrence in Sri Lanka for several years now. In early December of last year two young men, Lalith Kumar Weeraju and Kugan Murugan, were abducted and have since disappeared. According to human rights groups these two young men were activists campaigning for the International Day for Human Rights on December 10. Despite of many calls from local as well as international groups no action has been taken to investigate and recover them.
On October 27, 2011 a well known astrologer named Mohamed Sali Mohamed Niyas was abducted by a group of armed men and after several days his body was found on the shore Akkarai Paththu.
The white van has become the symbol of abductions which are often alleged to have been perpetrated by agencies associated with the government.
For many years now the Sri Lanka government has been urged by UN agencies, international human rights organisations as well as several governments to take effective steps to stop abductions and forced disappearances in the country. The government has refused to comply with any of these recommendations. The latest of such recommendations came from the UN Committee against Torture in its 47th Session held in November, 2011. The CAT Committee recommended that:
The State party should:
(a) Take all the necessary measures to ensure that enforced disappearance is established as an offence in its domestic law;
(b) Ensure that the cases of enforced disappearances are thoroughly and effectively investigated, that suspects are prosecuted and those found guilty punished with sanctions proportionate to the gravity of their crimes;
(c) Ensure that the any individual who has suffered harm as the direct result of an enforced disappearance has access to information about the fate of the disappeared person, as well as to fair and adequate compensation;
(d) Adopt measures to clarify the outstanding cases of enforced disappearances and comply with the request to visit by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (A/HRC/16/48, para. 450).
The Committee furthermore calls upon the State party to consider ratifying the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearances.
The Asian Human Rights Commission urges the government of Sri Lanka to investigate the abduction and murder of Mohammad Nistar and all other abductions and disappearances.