Where is Sombath? ສົມບັດຢູ່ໃສ?

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Sombath SomphoneSombath Somphone was last seen in Vientiane on the evening of Saturday, 15 December 2012 when he was driving home in his jeep.

Two days later, CCTV footage became available that showed Sombath being stopped by police and then abducted.  The video can be seen here.

Sombath is a friend, colleague and a visionary who has spent his life working for his people and country. This website hopes to facilitate his return to his family and work.

ມີຄົນພົບເຫັນ ສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ ຄັ້ງສຸດທ້າຍໃນ ນະຄອນຫລວງວຽງຈັນ ໃນຕອນແລງ ຂອງວັນເສົາ ທີ 15 ທັນວາ 2012 ເມື່ອລາວ ກຳລັງຂັບລົດຈິດຂອງລາວກັບບ້ານ.

ສອງມື້ຕໍ່ມາ ໄດ້ມີພາບຖ່າຍວິດີໂອກ້ອງວົງຈອນປິດຈາລະຈອນ ໄດ້ສະແດງໃຫ້ເຫັນວ່າ ສົມບັດ ກຳລັງຖືກຢຸດກວດໂດຍຕຳຫລວດ ແລະ ຫລັງຈາກນັ້ນກໍ່ຖືກລັກພາຕົວໄປພາບຖ່າຍ ວິດີໂອດັ່ງກ່າວ ສາມາດຊົມໄດ້ທີ່ນີ້.

ສົມບັດເປັນໝູ່, ເປັນເພື່ອນຮ່ວມງານ ແລະ ເປັນຜູ້ທີ່ມີວິໃສທັດ ຊຶ່ງລາວໄດ້ໃຊ້ຊີວິດເຮັດວຽກ ເພື່ອປະຊາຊົນ ແລະ ປະເທດຊາດ. ເວບໄຊ້ນີ້ຫວັງວ່າຈະຊ່ວຍເອື້ອຍອຳນວຍໃຫ້ລາວກັບມາ ຫາຄອບຄົວ ແລະ ວຽກງານຂອງລາວ.

ພັນລະຍາ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ ຍັງບໍ່ໄດ້ຮັບຂ່າວຄາວ ຈາກຜູ້ເປັນສາມີ ທີ່ຫາຍຕົວໄປ

Voice of America: 22 ເມສາ 2014

APF-02

ພາກປະຊາສັງຄົມ ທັງໃນອາຊຽນ ແລະນາໆຊາດ ໄດ້ພາກັນ ຮຽກຮ້ອງໃຫ້ ຊອກຫາ ທ່ານສົມບັດ.

ພັນລະຍາ ຂອງທ່ານສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ ຍັງບໍ່ໄດ້ຮັບຂ່າວຄາວໃດໆເລີຍຈາກຜູ້ເປັນສາມີທັງຍັງບໍ່ມີຄວາມຄືບໜ້າ ໃນການສອບສວນ ສືບສວນຫາຄວາມຈິງໂດຍທາງການຕຳຫຼວດລາວອີກດ້ວຍ.

ພາຍຫຼັງຈາກທີ່ ທ່ານນາງ Ng Shui Meng ພັນລະຍາ ຂອງ ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ ນັກພັດທະນາລາວ ຜູ້ດີເດັ່ນຂອງອາ ຊ່ຽນ ທີ່ໄດ້ຫາຍຕົວໄປ ນັບແຕ່ວັນທີ 15 ທັນວາ 2013 ເປັນຕົ້ນມານັ້ນ ໄດ້ຖະແຫລງການ ໃນໂອກາດການຫາຍຕົວໄປ ຂອງທ່ານສົມບັດ ຄົບຮອບ 1 ປີ ເພື່ອເຊີນຊວນ ໃຫ້ຜູ້ທີ່ຮັກ ຄວາມເປັນທຳ ທັງໃນລາວ ແລະຕ່າງປະເທດ ຈົ່ງໄດ້ພາກັນຂຽນຈົດໝາຍເຖິງ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ທີ່ມີເນື້ອຫາກ່ຽວກັບຊີວິດ ແລະ ຜົນງານ ແນວຄວາມຄິດ ອຸດົມການ ແລະ ວິທີການ ປະຕິບັດງານ ຂອງທ່ານສົມບັດ ເພື່ອເຜີຍແຜ່ອອກສູ່ການຮຽນຮູ້ ໃນວົງກວ້າງນັບແຕ່ ວັນທີ 15 ທັນວາ 2013 ເປັນຕົ້ນມາ ກໍປະກົດວ່າ ໄດ້ຮັບການຕອບສະໜອງຈາກ ພາກປະຊາສັງຄົມ ທັງໃນອາຊຽນ ແລະນາໆ ຊາດຢ່າງກວ້າງຂວາງ.

ທັງນີ້ໂດຍບັນດາຈົດໝາຍ ແລະ ການສະແດງອອກຕ່າງໆ ທີ່ກ່ຽວຂ້ອງກັບ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ດັ່ງກ່າວໄດ້ຖືກເຜີຍແຜ່ສູ່ ການຮັບຮູ້ໃນວົງກວ້າງໂດຍ Website ແລະ Facebook ທີ່ ຊື່ວ່າ Find Sombath Somphone ທີ່ມີທັງ ຈົດໝາຍ ການຈັດກິດຈະກຳ ແລະ ການ ສະແດງອອກ ທີ່ເປັນສັນຍາລັກ ຂອງການທວງຖາມ ອຳນາດການປົກຄອງ ໃນລາວ ກ່ຽວກັບການຫາຍຕົວໄປ ຂອງທ່ານສົມບັດ.

Members of Amnesty International Japan and Human Rights Watch protest at the Laos Embassy in Tokyo in December 2013. (Hideki Yakabayashi)

ເຄືອຂ່າຍອົງກອນ ພັດທະນາເອກະຊົນຍີ່ປຸ່ນ ຮຽກຮ້ອງໃຫ້ ຊອກຫາ ທ່ານສົມບັດ

ໂດຍການປະຕິບັດດັ່ງກ່າວນີ້ ກໍເພື່ອເປັນການສົ່ງກຳລັງໃຈ ແລະ ຄວາມປາດຖະໜາດີ ໄປເຖິງ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ທີ່ຫາຍຕົວໄປ ນັບເປັນລະຍະເວລາເກືອບ 500 ວັນມາແລ້ວ ຫາກແຕ່ວ່າຈົນ ເຖິງທຸກມື້ ສຳລັບທ່ານນາງ Ng Shui Meng ນັ້ນກໍຍັງຄົງ ບໍ່ໄດ້ຮັບຂ່າວຄາວໃດໆເລີຍ ຈາກຜູ້ເປັນສາມີ ຂອງທ່ານນາງ ແລະ ບໍ່ມີຄວາມຄືບໜ້າໃດໆ ເລີຍ ຈາກການສືບສວນສອບສວນ ຂອງທາງການຕຳຫຼວດລາວ ດັ່ງທີ່ທ່ານນາງໄດ້ກ່າວວ່າ:

“ສົມບັດ ເປັນຄົນສັນຊາດລາວ ລາວໄດ້ຫາຍໄປຢູ່ຕໍ່ໜ້າ ປົດຕຳຫຼວດ ໃນວຽງຈັນ ເລື້ອງທີ່ວ່າຜູ້ໃດເປັນ ຜູ້ຮັບຜິດຊອບ ໃນການ ເອົາລາວໄປນັ້ນບໍ່ສຳຄັນ ແຕ່ທີ່ສຳຄັນ ແມ່ນວ່າ ມັນຍັງແມ່ນຄວາມ ຮັບຜິດຊອບ ຂອງລັດຖະບານ ແລະ ຂອງກຳລັງຮັກສາຄວາມປອດໄພ ຢູ່ທີ່ຈະຊອກ ຫາ ສົມບັດ ໃຫ້ເຫັນແລ້ວສົ່ງລາວ ໃຫ້ຂ້າພະເຈົ້າ ແລະ ຄອບຄົວຢ່າງ ປອດໄພ ພວກເຂົາເຈົ້າ ໄດ້ຈັດຕັ້ງທີມງານສືບສວນຂຶ້ນມາ ແຕ່ກໍບໍ່ເຫັນວ່າມີຫຍັງດີເພາະເທົ້າເຖິງປັດຈຸບັນນີ້ ກໍບໍ່ໄດ້ມີຂ່າວຄາວອັນໃດວ່າ ສົມບັດ ຢູ່ແຫ່ງໃດ.”

ນອກຈາກການເຊີນຊວນໃຫ້ມີການ ຂຽນຈົດໝາຍເຖິງ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ດັ່ງກ່າວແລ້ວບັນດາອົງການ ຄຸ້ມຄອງ ສິດທິມະນຸດຍະຊົນສາກົນເຊັ່ນ ເຄືອຂ່າຍສະໝານສັນພາກປະຊາຊົນອາຊຽນ ຄະນະປະສານງານມະຫະກຳ ພາກປະຊາຊົນເອເຊຍກັບ ຢູໂຣບ ຄະນະກຳມະການປະສານງານ ອົງກອນພັດທະນາເອກະຊົນໄທ ເຄືອຂ່າຍ
ອົງກອນພັດທະນາເອກະຊົນຍີ່ປຸ່ນ ແລະ ເຄືອຂ່າຍເຍົາວະຊົນອາຊຽນກໍໄດ້ພາກັນ ຈັດກິດຈະກຳ ເພື່ອຮຽກຮ້ອງຂໍໃຫ້ ທາງການລາວຕາມຫາ ແລະ ໃຫ້ການຊ່ວຍເຫຼືອ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ຢ່າງຈິງຈັງອີກດ້ວຍ.

ກ່ອນໜ້ານີ້ ທ່ານ Walden Bello ຮອງປະທານ ຄະນະກຳມະການ ດ້ານສິດທິ ມະນຸດຍະຊົນ ຂອງລັດຖະສະພາ ອາຊຽນ ໄດ້ຖະແຫຼງການໃນໂອກາດທີ່ຄະນະຜູ້ ແທນຂອງລັດຖະສະພາຢູໂຣບ ຢ້ຽມຢາມ ສປປ. ລາວຢ່າງເປັນ ທາງການ ໃນວັນທີ 28 ຕຸລາ ປີ 2013 ວ່າຖືເປັນອີກໂອກາດນຶ່ງທີ່ຈະໄດ້ທວງຖາມທາງການລາວເຖິງ ຄວາມຄືບໜ້າ ຂອງການສືບສວນຫາຄວາມຈິງກ່ຽວກັບກໍລະນີ ຂອງທ່ານສົມບັດ.

People in Minneapolis are asking...

ນາໆ ຊາດພາກັນ ຮຽກຮ້ອງໃຫ້ ຊອກຫາ ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ

ຄະນະຜູ້ແທນຂອງລັດຖະສະພາຢູໂຣບ ທີ່ຢ້ຽມ ຢາມລາວ ດັ່ງກ່າວ ນຳໂດຍ ທ່ານ Werner Langen ປະທານ ລັດຖະສະພາຢູໂຣບຊຶ່ງ ຄະນະຂອງທ່ານກໍໄດ້ ພົບປະເຈລະຈາຮ່ວມ ກັນກັບ ຄະນະຜູ້ແທນ ຂອງສະພາແຫ່ງຊາດ ລາວ ທີ່ມີ ທ່ານໄຊ ສົມພອນ ພົມວິຫານຮອງ ປະທານສະພາ ແຫ່ງຊາດລາວເປັນຫົວໜ້າ ຄະນະໂດຍທັງ ສອງຝ່າຍ ກໍໄດ້ແລກປ່ຽນ ທັດສະນະ ຄວາມ ເຫັນທັງໃນດ້ານ ການພັດທະນາ ເສດຖະກິດ ສັງຄົມ ແລະ ສິດທິມະນຸດຍະຊົນ ທັງທີ່ເປັນ ການຮ່ວມມື ລະຫວ່າງສະພາແຫ່ງ ຊາດລາວ ກັບ ລັດຖະສະພາຢູໂຣບແລະ ລັດຖະສະພາຢູ່ໂຣບ ແລະ ລັດຖະສະພາອາຊຽນດ້ວຍ.

ແຕ່ຢ່າງໃດກໍຕາມ ສະມາຊິກລັດຖະສະພາຢູໂຣບ ກໍເຄີຍພົບປະເຈລະຈາ ກັບຄະນະເຈົ້າ ໜ້າທີ່ຂອງທາງການລາວ ຢູ່ນະຄອນວຽງຈັນມາ​ແລ້ວ​ ຄັ້ງນຶ່ງ​ເມື່ອ​ ເດືອນ​ສິງຫາ ປີກາຍ ​ໂດຍ​ຄະນະ​ຜູ້​ແທນ​ຂອງ​ລັດຖະສະພາ​ຢູ​ໂຣບກໍ​ໄດ້​ຢືນຢັນ​ວ່າ​ຈະ​ດຳ​ເນີນ​ມາດ​ຕະການ​ກົດ​ດັນ ຕໍ່​ລັດຖະບານ​ລາວຫຼາຍຂຶ້ນ​ໃນ​ກໍລະນີ​ຂອງ​ການ​ຫາຍ​ຕົວ​ໄປ​ ຂອງ​ທ່ານສົມບັດ ​ເພາະ​ເຫັນ​ວ່າ​ທາງ​ການ​ລາວ​ບໍ່​ໄດ້​ດຳ​ເນີນ​ການ​ຢ່າງ​ຈິງ​ຈັງ​ໃນ​ການຄົ້ນຫາ ​ຄວາມ​ຈິງ.

ທັງ​ນີ້​ໂດຍ​ກໍລະນີ​ທີ່​ສະທ້ອນ​ ໃຫ້​ເຫັນ​ເຖິງ​ຄວາມ​ບໍ່​ຈິງ​ຈັງ ຂອງ​ທາ​ງການ​ລາວ​ໄດ້​ຢ່າງ​ຈະ​ແຈ້ງ​ກໍ​ຄື​ການ​ທີ່​ບໍ່​ໄດ້​ໃຊ້​ປະ​ໂຫຍ​ດ ຈາກ​ພາບ​ທີ່​ກ້ອງ​ວົງ​ຈອນ​ປິດ​ຂອງ​ທາງ​ການ​ລາວ​ບັນ​ທຶກ​ໄ​ວ້​ໄດ້​ ໃນ​ຕອນ​ແລງ​ຂອງ​ວັນ​ທີ 15 ທັນ​ວາ 2012 ຊຶ່ງ​ເປັນ​ມື້​ທີ່​ ທ່ານ​ສົມບັດ ຖື​ກລັກ​ພາ​ຕົວ​ໄປ​ຈາກ​ປ້ອມ​ຕຳຫຼວດ​ ໃນ​ເຂ​ດນະຄອນ​ວຽງ​ຈັນ.

Dear Sombath…from Agnieszka Kroskowska

Dear Sombath,

As I prepare to leave Laos after 6.5 years of living and working here, I cannot help but reflect on my time here, my first days and weeks here. One of the very clear memories I have – as though it happened just yesterday, was my first meeting with you. This is atypical for me because I very rarely remember the first time I meet someone; more shy than people perhaps realize while sincerely in the moment, I usually am just trying to get through the moment, so I in the end draw a blank. But you and a few others I can basically count on one hand, were different. Interestingly – I also remember the first time I saw Shui Meng – you were together, sitting a couple of rows in front of me during one of those Monument Books presentation evenings. She stood up and voiced her opinion during the habitual Q&A session that follows all presentations. I just remember saying to my friend Wow – now that is a strong woman; I would definitely not want to mess with her; good for Sombath for having the confidence to be with a woman like that! Says even more about him as a man. Continue reading

Singapore taking the lead in pressuring Laos to expedite investigation into disappearance of Sombath Somphone

Asian Parliamentarians for Human Rights: 18 April 2014

LOGO_APHRBANGKOK – ASEAN Parliamentarians today praised Singapore for its consistent efforts to urge the Lao government to expedite its inquiry into the disappearance of civil society actor Sombath Somphone and urged other ASEAN nations to take a firm, united stand against the shortcomings of the Lao authorities’ investigation to date.

The Singapore government this week reiterated its concern regarding the stalled investigation into Sombath’s whereabouts after he was disappeared from a street in Vientiane in December 2012.

In written remarks to the Singapore Parliament, Singaporean Law and Foreign Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam said his government had made its misgivings known to the Lao government and that it has also offered assistance to Sombath’s wife, Dr. Ng Shui Meng, a Singaporean citizen resident in Vientiane.

“[The Singapore government has] consistently raised our concern to the Lao PDR government over Mr Sombath’s disappearance at the highest levels, including with the Lao PDR President, Prime Minister, President of the National Assembly and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs,” K Shanmugam said.

“We have urged the Lao PDR government to expedite their investigations and to resolve this case as quickly as possible.” Continue reading

Kidnapping In Laos Affects Civil Society

The Eugene Weekly: 17 April 2014

By Camilla Mortensen

Sombath Somphone is “one of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic’s most respected civil society figures,” according  to a December 2013 press statement from Secretary of State John Kerry on the one year anniversary of Sombath’s disappearance. Sombath was kidnapped from a police checkpoint in Laos and has not been heard from since. Sombath’s wife, Ng Shui-Meng, will be speaking about her husband’s disappearance and the challenges to free speech and human rights in Laos and in the rest of Southeast Asia while in Eugene on Monday, April 21.

“Laos has taken steps in recent years to become a responsible partner in the community of nations,” Kerry writes. “Sombath’s abduction threatens to undermine those efforts.”

Ng Shui-Meng says that while some have called Sombath the “Nelson Mandela of Laos,” her husband was never involved in politics. He worked in nonviolence and consensus building, she says, and always worked with the approval of government officials. Sombath established the Participatory Development Training Center in Laos, which works to train young people and local government officials in community-based development. Continue reading

Dear Sombath…from Lois Foehringer

Dear Sombath,

Sabaidee!

I think of you every time I chop onions. This is the way it has always been. The association between you and onions reckons back to the countless weekend evenings spent preparing meals in our kitchen in Vientiane. The task of chopping onions was yours by default because the pungency of the onion juice never bothered you like it did the rest of us. You did this task cheerfully just as you approach every other task that I have seen you undertake. So it is that when I chop onions, as my eyes burn and tears stream down my face, I cannot help but whisper under my breath, “Sombath, where are you?” Of course, that question is so much more poignant now when there is such deep and disturbing uncertainty about your whereabouts. Continue reading

“Where is Sombath Somphone?” asks his wife prior to Oregon visit

The Oregonian: 16 April 2014

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In this Sept. 16, 2005 photo given to Associated Press by Sombath Somphone family, Lao leading civil rights activist Sombath Somphone, right, with his wife Shui-Meng poses for a photograph during their holiday trip in Bali, Indonesia. (Courtesy of the family of Sombath Somphone)

By Mike Francis

It’s been 16 months, and Ng Shui-Meng wants to make sure the world remembers that her husband was taken off a public street in Laos and hasn’t been seen since.

Sombath Somphone was a lifelong activist for the poor and disenfranchised of Laos. He worked throughout his adult life on their behalf, advocating for their education, empowerment and happiness. (See his part in the “Happy Laos” video below.)

He was, his wife says, resolutely apolitical. He sought to build consensus, acting as a bridge between the governed of Laos and their governors. On his last major project before he was the victim of what Amnesty International calls an “enforced disappearance,” he co-chaired a key committee for the Asia-Europe Peoples’ Forum with Laos’ minister of foreign affairs.

Yet he evidently troubled some people. Continue reading

ASEAN must act on human rights

The enforced disappearances of Sombath Somphone, Jonas Burgos and Somchai and dozens of Southeast Asian activists highlight ASEAN’s insincerity in protecting the human rights of its peoples. Its failure to meaningfully respond to these cases is immoral and unjust, especially to the families of the victims. For the nth time, we strongly urge ASEAN to instruct its representatives in the regional human rights body, AICHR, to investigate these cases and formulate recommendations that will punish the perpetrators and eliminate cases of enforced disappearances. The true test of the legitimacy of AICHR and ASEAN’s commitment to human rights is when they finally act on these cases and help in the elimination of rights abuses in the region.

From Solidarity for Asian Peoples’ Advocacy (SAPA) statement made at Asian People’s Forum in Yangon. 24 March 2014