The abduction of senior journalist, Keith Noyahr, Associate Editor of the Nation newspaper just outside his home in a residential suburb of Colombo is a shocking incident that highlights the vulnerability of human rights and the media in Sri Lanka. Mr Noyahr wrote the defence column for his newspaper in addition to editing it. The National Peace Council condemns this abduction which adds to the dismal toll of victims of serious human rights violations. Ironically, this incident occurred on the day after Sri Lanka failed to obtain re-election to the UN Human Rights Council which demands that member countries demonstrate the highest adherence to human rights norms.
A notable feature of these abductions is that they take place even in areas where there is a high level of security and checkpoints at regular intervals. It appears that the abductors are able to take their victims through these security checkpoints with impunity. In addition there have been a number of attacks on journalists, leading in some cases to their death, in which the perpetrators have been able to get away with impunity.
While we are happy to note that Keith Noyahr has been released following appeals to the highest government authorities we are appalled that this incident took place. He had been physically assaulted and we join his family and loved ones in wishing him a speedy recovery. The sooner those who ordered the abduction and those who carried it out are identified and brought to justice, the sooner will it be possible for us to move forward as a society that respects the rights of individuals, even those holding opposing views, and truly re-emerge as a united nation respecting