Where is Sombath? ສົມບັດຢູ່ໃສ?

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Sombath SomphoneSombath Somphone is a friend, colleague and visionary who has spent his life working for his people and country.

He was last seen on the evening 15 December 2012, while driving home in his jeep.

CCTV footage shows Sombath being stopped by police and then taken away.

While authorities continue to deny responsibility, Sombath’s abduction is widely acknowledged to be an enforced disappearance.

This website hopes to facilitate justice for Sombath and his family, and bring voice to his ideas and ideals.

ສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ ເປັນທັງໝູ່, ເພື່ອນຮ່ວມວຽກ, ແລະນັກຝັນ ທີ່ໄດ້ອຸທິດເວລາທັງຊີວິດວຽກງານຂອງລາວ ໃຫ້ກັບປະຊາຊົນ ແລະປະເທດຂອງຕົນ.

ຄັ້ງທ້າຍສຸດທີ່ມີຄົນເຫັນລາວ ແມ່ນໃນຕອນຄ່ຳຂອງວັນທີ 15 ທັນວາ 2012, ໃນຂະໜະທີ່ລາວກຳລັງຂັບ ລົດຈິບຂອງລາວກັບບ້ານ.

ວິດີໂອ ບັນທຶກ ໃຫ້ເຫັນວ່າ ຕຳຫຼວດໄດ້ຢຸດ ສົມບັດ ແລ້ວພາຕົວລາວໄປ.

ໃນຂະໜະທີ່ເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່ຍັງຄົງສືບຕໍ່ປະຕິເສດການມີສ່ວນຮ່ວມໃນເຫດການນີ້, ໃນສາຍຕາຂອງວົງກວ້າງ ການລັກພາຕົວ ສົມບັດ ຍັງຖືເປັນການຫາຍຕົວໄປແບບຖືກບັງຄັບ (Enforced Disappearance).

ເວັບໄຊນີ້ ສ້າງຂຶ້ນມາ ດ້ວຍຫວັງທີ່ຈະຊ່ວຍນຳເອົາຄວາມຍຸຕິທຳມາສູ່ ສົມບັດ ແລະຄອບຄົວຂອງລາວ, ແລະເພື່ອເປັນກະບອກສຽງໃຫ້ກັບແນວຄິດ ແລະອຸດົມຄະຕິຂອງລາວ.

Amnesty International in Canberra keeps up pressure

As posted on December 10th, Amnesty International’s chapter in Canberra, Australia held an action at the Lao embassy on 15 December, the two-year mark since Sombath’s enforced disappearance. Canberra-AI-2014-12-15

Members had also raised awareness in the diplomatic areas on the preceding Thursday and Friday, and will be lobbying various missions in the lead up to Laos’ Universal Periodic Review on January 20th.

The group’s letter to Mr Phomma Khammanichan, Lao Ambassador to Australia, reads in part:

Phoumma KhammanichanhWe are disappointed that the Lao PDR investigation into Sombath’s disappearance has seemingly not commenced in any substantial manner even after 2 years.

We know, you know, the representatives at the UN Universal Periodic Review know and the investigation team knows that the person who parked his motor bike at the police post and who then drove off in Sombath’s vehicle can be identified because the motor bike was identifiable.

We all know that the officer in charge of the police post and therefore in control of events on that on that fateful day can be identified and interviewed. This officer would normally know the identities of persons who entered the police post during the course of Sombath’s apprehension and disappearance.

We know that the licence number of the vehicle that took Sombath away is identifiable through CCTV footage taken at the time. Yet there is no evidence that these simple elements of an investigation have been made.

We all know that the Lao PDR Penal Code prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention and abduction. We also know as you would, that no one in Laos can be detained for more than 12 months without trial.

 

ອົງການ ປົກປອ້ງ  ສິດທິ ມະນຸດ ຣຽກຣອ້ງ ກູ່ມ ປະເທດເອຊຽນ ໃຫ້ ຢຸດຕິ ຄວາມ ງຽບສງັດ ເມີນເສີຍ ຕໍ່ ກໍຣະນີ ການ ຫາຍ ສາບສູນ ຂອງ ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ

International Federation for Human Rights: 17 December 2014

15 ທັນວາ 2014FIDH-Logo

ອົງການ ປົກປອ້ງ  ສິດທິ ມະນຸດ ຣຽກຣອ້ງ ກູ່ມ ປະເທດເອຊຽນ ໃຫ້ ຢຸດຕິ ຄວາມ ງຽບສງັດ ເມີນເສີຍ ຕໍ່ ກໍຣະນີ ການ ຫາຍ ສາບສູນ ຂອງ ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ

ເນື່ອງ ໃນ ໂອກາດ ວັນ ຄົບຣອບ ສອງ ປີ ແຫ່ງ ການ ຫາຍ ສາບສູນ ຂອງ ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ, ຜູ້ນໍາ ດີເດັ່ນ ຂອງ ພາກປະຊາ ສັງຄົມ, ພວກ ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າ, ໝາຍ ມີ ອົງການ ຈັດຕັ້ງ ຂັ້ນ ທອ້ງຖີ່ນ ເອເຊັຍ ແລະ ນາໆ ຊາດ ດ້ານ ການ ປົກປອ້ງ ສິດທິ ມະນຸດ, ຂໍ ປະນາມ ຢ່າງ ແຫ່ງ ຕໍ່ ການປະຕິເສດ ສເມີ ມາ ຂອງ ທາງການ ສປປ ລາວ ໃນການ ໃຫ້ ຂໍ້ມູນ ກ່ຽວກັບ ຊາຕາກັມ ຂອງ ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ.

ການ ເມີນເສີຍ ແບບ ເຈດຕະນາ ຂອງ ລັຖະບານ ສປປ ລາວ ຕໍ່ ຊາຕາກັມ ຂອງ ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ ແມ່ນ ນະໂຍບາຍ ຍຸດທະສາດ ເພື່ອ ເຣັດໃຫ້ ການ ຫາຍ ສາບສູນ ແບບ ຄາດຕະກັມ ຢ່າງ ໂຫດຣ້າຍ ລາຍນີ້ ຖືກ ປັດເຂັ່ຍ ຫລົງລືມ ນັ້ນ ເອງ. ໜ້າເສັຽດາຍ ທີ່ ສຸດ ທີ່ ບັນດາ ປະເທດ ພາຄີ ເອຊຽນ ພາກັນ ງຽບສະງັດ ຕໍ່ ກໍຣະນີ ຂອງ ການ ຫາຍຕົວ ຂອງ ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ. ພວກ ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າ ເຫັນວ່າ  ກູ່ມ ປະເທດ ເອຊຽນ, ພອ້ມດວ້ຍ ຄະນະ ກັມມາທິການ ດ້ານ ສິດທດ ມະນຸດ ຂອງ ອົງການ ເອຊຽນ, ຄວນຈະ ເຊົາ ມິດງຽບ ໃດ້ ແລ້ວ ໃນ ກໍຣະນີ ນີ້.

ແທນທີ່ ຈະ ບໍ່ ໃຫ້ ມີການ ແຊກແຊງ ກິດຈະການ ພາຍໃນ ຂອງ ແຕ່ລະ ປະເທດ ເອຊຽນ ນັ້ນ ກູ່ມ ປະເທດ ພາຄີ ຄວນຈະ ພາກັນ ເອົາ ຄວາມ ຣັບຜິດຊອບ ໃນ ນາມ ເປັນ ພາຄີ ຂອງ ປະຊາຄົມ ສາກົນ ໂດຍ ະຫນັບສະຫນູນ ຫຼັກການ ບົ່ງໃວ້ ໃນ ກົດບັດ ສິດທິ ມະນຸດ ຂອງ ກູ່ມ 10 ປະເທດ ເອຊຽນ ວ່າ ຣັບຣູ້ ການ ສົ່ງເສີມ ແລະ ປົກປ້ອງ ສິດທິ ມະນຸດ ແລະ ພື້ນຖານ ຕ່າງໆ ຂອງ ສິດ ເສລີພາບ ແມ່ນ ເປົ້າໝາຍ ແລະ ອຸດົມການ ຂອງ ເອຊຽນ. Continue reading

Sombath ‘offers youth a role model’

Bangkok Post: 17 December 2014

Laos would be more culturally dignified and have more active young citizens if Sombath Somphone had not gone missing two years ago, according to a seminar held on Monday to mark the anniversary of the activist’s disappearance.

Surichai Wun’gaeo, director of Chulalongkorn’s Centre of Peace and Conflict Studies, said Mr Sombath was not only a citizen of Laos but a regional asset, since he was recognised with a Magsaysay award in 2005.

“He cares for his nation and the whole region and brings a subtle approach and compassion,” Mr Surichai, one of Mr Sombath’s long-time friends, told the “If the World Didn’t Have Enforced Disappearances” seminar.

Premrudee Daoruang, coordinator of the Towards Ecological Recovery and Regional Alliance, said Mr Sombath’s main focus was energising young people about sustainable agriculture to boost their cultural independence and reject materialistic goals.

“During my 20 years of working with Brother Sombath, I noticed he tried many approaches and worked with all types of people at provincial and national levels,” said Ms Premrudee. Continue reading

ASEAN Should Confront Laos On Rights Abuses: NGOs

The Diplomat: 16 December 2014

Call issued on anniversary of disappearance of Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone

By Prashanth Parameswaran

ASEAN member states should abandon their principle of not interfering in each other’s internal affairs and confront Laos on rights abuses in the country as responsible members of the international community, a group of leading regional and international non-governmental organizations said yesterday.

“Instead of invoking the principle of non-interference into one another’s internal affairs, ASEAN member states must act as responsible members of the international community and uphold the…key tenets enshrined in the ASEAN charter, which recognizes the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms….,” a statement, signed by 82 regional and international NGOs, said.

The statement was released on the second anniversary of the enforced disappearance of revered Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, who was last seen on the evening of December 15, 2012. A police security video of the incident showed Sombath being stopped at a police checkpoint while driving home, before being taken into custody by unknown individuals. Rights groups say the fact that the police officers who witnessed the abduction failed to intervene suggests some level of complicity by Lao authorities. Continue reading

Laos must come clean

The Nation: 16 December 2014

The Laos government claims to care about its citizens. Now is the time to prove it.

Silence over the disappearance two years ago of community activist Sombath Somphone is a stain on the national conscience.

On the evening of December 15, 2012, Magsaysay award winner Sombath Somphone was seen getting out of his jeep and walking into a police outpost on Thadeua Road, Vientiane. Video from a traffic camera shows that a car with flashing lights then arrived, Sombath was escorted to it by unidentified men and then driven away from the scene.The video clip, available on YouTube and other websites, has been viewed by people around the world many times over the past two years. Lao authorities, meanwhile, have announced several times they are investigating Sombath’s disappearance, but on each occasion they have been unable to demonstrate any progress on the case to the public and his family.The international community, including the United Nations, has voiced concerns over his disappearance and pressured the government in Vientiane to make greater efforts to solve the case.Sombath had dedicated his life to the development of his motherland and the betterment of his fellow citizens, particularly the poor. He is a model Lao citizen with a deep love for Laos that he expressed in actions.

In the early 1970s, he received a scholarship to study at the University of Hawaii where he received a BA in Education and an MA in Agriculture. With these qualifications he was free to settle anywhere in the world after the Vietnam War and the fall of Vientiane to the communist Pathet Lao in 1975. But he chose to return home so as to help poor farmers improve their productivity. His contribution to Lao society matches that of the most idealistic members of the Vientiane government. In this regard, the government owes him a lot. But his work went largely unrecognised at home, only coming to international attention when Sombath was handed the prestigious Magsaysay Award for community leadership. Continue reading

Two years on: Still no answers in disappearance of Sombath Somphone

The Diplomat: 15 December 2014

Lao leading civil rights activist Sombath Somphone, right, with his wife Shui-Meng during a drip to Bali in 2005. Pic: AP.

Lao leading civil rights activist Sombath Somphone, right, with his wife Shui-Meng during a drip to Bali in 2005. Pic: AP.

Two years have passed since the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone, a celebrated civil rights worker in Laos. Sombath was last seen being driven away in an unknown vehicle in Vientiane on Dec. 15, 2012. He has not been heard from since. Sombath’s family, friends, and colleagues continue to demand answers about his whereabouts and accountability from a government notorious for strong-arming activists and others seen as “troublemakers”.

CCTV footage shows Sombath was last seen when he was stopped at a police post in Vientiane after leaving dinner with his wife. The video shows him at the post and then being driven away in another vehicle. No one knows his whereabouts since then and the Laos government denies having knowledge about where he is, why he was detained, or what has happened to him. Continue reading