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.

Civil Society speaks on Sombath

ACSC-APF2.2.3 States and non-state actors continue to commit violations with impunity, including police brutality, torture and enforced disappearances, against civil society activists. For example, the lack of immediate and transparent investigation into the case of Sombath Somphone[3] by ASEAN governments, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), or any other human rights mechanisms in the region. Human rights defenders continue to be persecuted under oppressive laws, including laws against activities as “injuring the national unity”, “propaganda against the State“, “abusing democratic freedoms” and sedition laws, which deny the people safe and constructive political space.

[3] Sombath Somphone, an internationally acclaimed community development worker and prominent member of Lao civil society, went missing on 15 December 2012, when police stopped his vehicle at a checkpoint in the capital. He was then transferred to another vehicle, according to police surveillance video, and has not been heard from since. Reports say that the Lao government continues to deny responsibility for his disappearance.

From Reclaiming the ASEAN Community for the People, the CSO Statement for the 2015 ACSC/APF.

For Para. 2.2.3, on page 2 the sentence containing the individual name of Sombath Somphone and the related footnote must be completely deleted because in any statement we just point out the fact and suggest recommendation and for avoiding unwilling or detrimental consequences, we never put in the name of individual nor we name of specific country. Furthermore, in LAO PDR few people know Sombath Somphone. He is known as a simple Lao citizen and as a development worker, but not prominent as pretended in the footnote. He has established a none registered Association. He does not elected as leader of Lao CSOs. The facts are there.

…This is the determinate voice of Lao people concerning ASEAN CSOs STATEMENT. Once again the People of LAO PDR hope that the sentence of multi-Party and pluralistic system and the other sentence with the individual name of Sombath Somphone, the word LGBTIQ and also all the footnotes shall be deleted or erased from the final Statement prior submission to the high level ASEAN LEADERS during the interface event.

From a resolution allegedly resulting from a meeting of Lao CSOs held on 10-11 March, 2015.

ທາງການລາວບໍ່ຢາກເວົ້າຊື່ ທ.ສົມບັດ

ວິທະຍຸເອເຊຍເສຣີ: 16 ເມສາ 2015

Ng Shui Meng at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand in Bangkok, Dec. 11, 2023. RFA

ຍານາງ ອຶງ ຊຸຍເມັງ ພັລຍາ ຂອງ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ. RFA

ອົງການ ຈັດຕັ້ງ ທາງ ສັງຄົມ ຂອງ ລາວ ເສັຽ ຄວາມ ຮູ້ສຶກ ກັບ ຄວາມ ບໍ່ຈິງໃຈ ຂອງ ຣັຖບານ ທີ່ ພຍາຍາມ ຈະເອົາ ເຣື້ອງ ການ ຫາຍສາບສູນ ຂອງ ຜູ້ນຳ ຂອງ ອົງການ ຈັດຕັ້ງ ທາງ ສັງຄົມ ຂອງ ລາວ ອອກ ຈາກ ປະເດັນ ສິດທິ ມະນຸດ ຢູ່ ໃນ ຂົງເຂດ ນີ້, ຊຶ່ງ ຈະມີການ ປຶກສາ ຫາລື ກັນ ຢູ່ ໃນ ກອງ ປະຊຸມ ສຸດຍອດ ຜູ້ນຳ ອາຊຽນ ຢູ່ ປະເທດ ມາເລເຊັຽ ໃນ ເດືອນ ໜ້ານີ້ (ເມສາ).

ເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່ ໄດ້ ກ່າວວ່າ ມີ ພະນັກງານ ຣັຖກອນ ບຳນານ ທ່ານນຶ່ງ ເຮັດໜ້າທີ່ ເປັນ ຕົວແທນ ຂອງ ຣັຖບານ ຢູ່ ນະຄອນ ຫລວງ ວຽງຈັນ ແລະ ວິ້ງເຕັ້ນ ສະເໜີ ຄນະ ກັມມະການ ຈັດ ກອງປະຊຸມ ພາກ ປະຊາຊົນ ອາຊຽນ ໃຫ້ ລົບ ຊື່ ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ ຊຶ່ງ ເປັນ ນັກ ພັທນາ ອາວຸໂສ ລາວ ທີ່ ຖືກ ລັກ ພາຕົວ ໄປ ເປັນ ເວລາ ກວ່າ 2 ປີ ອອກຈາກ ປະເດັນ ສິດທິ ມະນຸດ ແລະ ບັນຫາ ທາງດ້ານ ການ ປົກຄອງ ຢູ່ ໃນ ອາຊຽນ.

ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ ຖືກ ລັກພາຕົວ ໃນ ວັນທີ 15 ທັນວາ 2012 ເມື່ອ ເຈົ້າໜ້າທິ່ ຕຳຣວດ ຢຸດ ຣົດ ຂອງ ທ່ານ ຢູ່ ຕໍ່ໜ້າ ປ້ອມ ຕຳຣວດ ຢູ່ ນະຄອນ ຫລວງ ວຽງຈັນ. ແລ້ວ ຕໍ່ມາ ທ່ານ ກໍຖືກ ພາຕົວ ຂຶ້ນ ຣົດ ອີກ ຄັນນຶ່ງ ໄປ. ອີງຕາມ ຫລັກຖານ ຈາກ ພາບ ວີດີໂອ ຂອງ ເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່ ຕໍາຣວດ, ແລະ ກໍບໍ່ໄດ້ ເຫັນ ທ່ານ ອີກ ນັບແຕ່ ນັ້ນ ເປັນ ຕົ້ນມາ.

ກຸ່ມ ສິດທິ ມະນຸດ ສົງໄສ ວ່າ ເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່ ທາງການ ລາວ ຈຳນວນນ ນຶ່ງ ມີສ່ວນ ໃນ ການ ລັກພາຕົວ ທ່ານ ສົມບັດ ຜູ້ທີ່ໄດ້ ຮັບ ຣາງວັນ ແມັກໄຊໄຊ ອາຫວອດ ໃນດ້ານ ການ ພັທນາ ຊຸມຊົນ ຢູ່ ໃນ ເອເຊັຽ ຊຶ່ງ ທຽບເທົ່າ ກັບ ຣາງວັນ ໂນເບວ ໃນຖານະ ທີ່ ທ່ານ ໄດ້ ເຮັດວຽກ ພັທນາ ການ ສຶກສາ. Continue reading

Dear Sombath…from Somchit

Dear Uncle Sombath,

House-Warming-01Today we made merits for you as well to blessed us all for the fresh Lao new year. Wherever you are i wish you received our pray and the food we offer in spirits. We did the ceremony at the wooden house that you bought just couple months before someone disappeared you. I remember very well this house and the rice hut, you said you were very very proud you found it, they are old that the owner wanted to tear it down and you want to preserve it. I never thought before that I will have to work on this house for you, moving them in pieces all the way from Savannakhet province and rebuild in Vientiane capital. It was my very first time in my life to build a house, and I always wish that you could come back and tell me what I should do with these old pieces of woods. I sometimes thought whether it’s worth to work on them, but I manage to finished them at last, with some adaptation. For nearly 2 years that it’s done, we never use it, and not many people see the hHouse Warming-02ouse attractive because it’s typical Lao house. But to me, I always say to myself that this house is lovely. I love looking at it and it make me smile inside. For me it’s symbol of you, your taste and happiness. Hope you will get to come back to see it by yourself soon. Jit

Sweden speaks out for Sombath

Swedish FlagThere are at least nine reported cases of forced disappearances in Laos. The disappearance of the civil society activist Mr Sombath Somphone is one of the most internationally renowned cases. Mr Sombath was last seen at a police checkpoint on 15 December 2012 and his whereabouts are still unknown. The government issued a statement that the disappearance of Mr Sombath would be thoroughly investigated. No results of the investigation have been publicly disclosed.

Sweden recommends that Laos intensify the investigation into the disappearance of Mr. Sombath and accepts external assistance in the investigation and make the results publicly known, and that Laos investigates in a transparent and credible manner all cases of enforced disappearances.

From the Swedish statement to the Universal Periodic Review on Laos held in Geneva on 20 January 2015.

ອົງການ HRW ຮຽກຮ້ອງໃຫ້ ນາໆ ຊາດ ກົດດັນລາວ ເລື້ອງ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ

Voice of America: 03 ເມສາ 2015

Lao Embassy-Bangkok-2013-04

ບັນດານັກເຄື່ອນໄຫວ ເພື່ອສິດທິມະນຸດ ຖືປ້າຍລົນນະລົງ ທີ່ຮຽກຮ້ອງໃຫ້ ທາງການລາວນຳເອົາ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ ກັບຄືນມາຢ່າງປອດໄພ.

ກຸ່ມ​ເຄື່ອນໄຫວດ້ານສິດທິມະນຸດສາກົນ ຮຽກຮ້ອງໃຫ້ນານາຊາດ ເພີ້ມການກົດດັນລັດຖະບານລາວ ຕໍ່ກໍລະນີການຫາຍຕົວໄປຂອງ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ ນັກພັດທະນາສັງຄົມລາວ ທີ່ດີເດັ່ນຂອງ ອາຊ່ຽນ.

ກຸ່ມເຄື່ອນໄຫວດ້ານສິດທິມະນຸດສາກົນ Human Right Watch ໄດ້ຖະແຫລງການຮຽກຮ້ອງ ຕໍ່ນານາຊາດເພື່ອຂໍໃຫ້ເພີ້ມການກົດ ດັນລັດຖະບານລາວຕໍ່ກໍລະນີການຫາຍຕົວໄປ ຂອງທ່ານສົມບັດ ສົມພອນ ນັກພັດທະນາ ສັງຄົມລາວ ທີ່ດີເດັ່ນ ຂອງອາຊ່ຽນ ໃນໂອກາດທີ່ລັດຖະບານອອສເຕຣເລຍ ໄດ້ເປັນເຈົ້າພາບ ຈັດການພົບປະເຈລະຈາ ວ່າດ້ວຍ ສະພາບ ການດ້ານສິດທິມະນຸດ ຄັ້ງທີ 4 ຮ່ວມກັບຄະນະ ຜູ້ຕາງໜ້າ ຂອງລັດຖະບານລາວ ເມື່ອບໍ່ນານມານີ້ ຢູ່ນະຄອນຫລວງ Canberra ປະເທດ ອອສເຕຣເລຍ.

ໂດຍຖະແຫລງການດັ່ງກ່າວ ໄດ້ສະເໜີແນະໃຫ້ລັດຖະບານອອສເຕຣເລຍ ຕ້ອງກົດດັນ ທາງການລາວ ເພື່ອໃຫ້ສະແດງຄວາມຮັບຜິດຊອບ ໃນການສືບສວນຫາຄວາມຈິງກ່ຽວກັບ ການຫາຍຕົວໄປຂອງ ທ່ານສົມບັດ ແລະ ນຳເອົາຕົວຜູ້ກະທຳຄວາມຜິດມາລົງໂທດ ຕາມ ກົດໝາຍໃຫ້ໄດ້ ຫາກບໍ່ສະນັ້ນແລ້ວ ການພົບປະເຈລະຈາດັ່ງກ່າວ ລະຫວ່າງທາງການ ອອສເຕຣເລຍ ກັບລາວ ກໍຈະບໍ່ມີປະໂຫຍດຫຍັງເລີຍ ນອກຈາກການພົບປະເຈລະຈາ
ປາກເປົ່າ ທີ່ມີຂຶ້ນຕາມກຳນົດເວລາເທົ່ານັ້ນ.

ແຕ່ຢ່າງໃດກໍຕາມ ການພົບປະເຈລະຈາດັ່ງກ່າວ ກໍໄດ້ຜ່ານພົ້ນໄປແລ້ວ ຫາກແຕ່ກໍຍັງບໍ່ ປາກົດວ່າ ໄດ້ມີໝາກຜົນແນວໃດເກີດຂຶ້ນ ຈາກການພົບປະເຈລະຈາໃນຄັ້ງນີ້ ຫຼືບໍ່ ເນື່ອງ ຈາກທາງການອອສເຕຣເລຍ ແລະ ລາວບໍ່ໄດ້ເຜີຍແຜ່ຂໍ້ມູນອອກມາ ສູ່ການຮັບຮູ້ໃນວົງ ກວ້າງແຕ່ຢ່າງໃດ. Continue reading

Civic Activists: ASEAN Ignoring Peoples’ Concerns

Voice of America: 02 April 2013

By Steve Herman

This month they are specifically to confront Laos with the issue of the enforced disappearance of prominent activist Sombath Somphone.

APF-KL-2015

Jerald Joseph left speaks at a briefing on the upcoming ASEAN peoples’ forum while Sunsanee Sutthisunsanee, right, listens, April 2, 2015. (Steve Herman/VOA News)

BANGKOK—Civic organizations in Southeast Asia are expressing increasing concern their voices are being ignored by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), even though the current chair, Malaysia, has vowed to realize a “people-centered ASEAN.”

When ASEAN holds its 26th Summit later this month in Kuala Lumpur, the association’s civil society conference and peoples’ forum will jointly issue a stinging rebuke.

They will tell the leaders that recommendations submitted annually since 2005 by civil society “have been neither implemented nor adopted in any meaningful way.”

They say this is because ASEAN “prioritizes corporate interests and elite groups, including state-owned enterprises, over the interests of the people.”

The four-day summit will be held in Malaysia’s capital from April 24. Continue reading

Australia promises continued pressure

Australian-FlagAt the fourth Australian-Laos Human Rights Dialogue in Canberra on 5 March, Australia further pressed Laos to conclude an urgent and credible investigation into Mr Sombath’s disappearance, emphasising pressure will remain on Laos unless the case is transparently and credibly resolved. Australia also underlined the need for Laos to respond in a considered manner to recommendations made by Australia and other countries at the recent United Nations Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review (UPR), including on Mr Sombath’s disappearance and the constrained operating environment for civil society in Laos. Australia will continue to pursue this matter…

Richard Andrews, First Assistant Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in a letter to The Sombath Initiative, responding to an earlier letter to Julie Bishop, Australian Foreign Minister.

Despite the Lao government’s continued claims it is more concerned than anybody, a related article in the Vientiane Times makes no mention of Sombath

Sombath on Investment & Transparency

We should get them to find ways of doing a total accounting of the investment and the benefits, and especially I think ecological degradation should be accounted for when you do the accounting.

Remarks by Sombath at a panel discussion held at the FCCT in Bangkok, Thailand, 10 November 2008.

ASEAN rights activists demand change ahead of People’s Forum

Asian Correspondent: 26 March 2015

By 

APF-2015

Members of the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum. Photo courtesy ACSC/APF

The missing Laotian civil society leader Sombath Somphone will be at the forefront of the conversation at the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum meets in Kuala Lumpur next month. Sombath is a victim of enforced disappearance, and was kidnapped in Vientiane, Laos, in 2013. The Laos government has consistently denied involvement or refused to provide real information about the missing civil society leader, and his case has come to represent one of the most egregious human rights offenses still committed in the ASEAN countries.

The ACSC/APF allows civil society activists from all the ASEAN countries to voice their concerns about rights violations in their countries, and become empowered by the strength in numbers there. In countries such as Laos and Vietnam, dissent is often suppressed with jail time or enforced disappearances, which makes it extremely dangerous for activists to speak out. Jerald Joseph, chair of the APF’s Regional Steering Committee, said that by coming to the forum, activists who face risks in their home countries find a safer space to voice their concerns. And their participation puts serious human rights issues in the international spotlight, putting pressure on their governments to address injustices. Continue reading