Sombath 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.
Overland Journal: Spring 2014
The arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorisation, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.
– Article 2, The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
The last time Ng Shui Meng saw her husband, Sombath Somphone, alive was early in the evening of Saturday, 15 December 2012.
Sombath was driving his old jeep home. Shui Meng, who was travelling in her own vehicle in front of his, noticed him being stopped at a police post on Thadeua Road, a main thoroughfare in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Having your car stopped by the police is not uncommon in Laos. Usually it involves a simple identification check. Sometimes, police attempt to shake down drivers for a small bribe to supplement their meagre wages. As such, Shui Meng thought nothing of it and drove on home, expecting Sombath to join her later.
When her husband didn’t arrive for dinner she began to worry. She searched the vicinity of the police post where he was last seen and also visited Vientiane’s hospitals on the assumption he might have had an accident. She called his phone but was diverted to his message bank.
A fluent Lao speaker, Shui Meng reported Sombath missing to police the next day. She and Sombath’s family also rechecked the city’s hospitals and retraced the previous night’s events along Thadeua Road. It was then they noticed the Chinese-funded CCTV cameras mounted at various points along the road, one of which overlooked the police post where Sombath was last seen. Continue reading
Let’s look at our model of development as it exists today. The development model that is widely practiced today is not very sustainable. So many things do not fit, thus so many “failures” just like in our “schooling”. For example, the world is so rich and yet there is widespread poverty. Unprecedented advances have been made in agriculture and aquaculture, yet more people go to bed hungry each day than ever before. Some nations have become so powerful, but the world has become ever more insecure. One can be so rich in materials but yet so poor emotionally and spiritually. And the list goes on.
Sombath, in “The Interdependencies Between Education and Sustainable Development,” presented at the 10th Asia-Pacific Programme of Educational Innovation for Development (APEID) in Bangkok, Thailand, December, 2008
To mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances on August 30th, Senator Christine Milne from the Australian Greens and Senator Pia S. Cayetana from the Philippines issued statements in support of Sombath and calling for an end to Enforced Disappearances. Please follow the links to read their respective statements.
Greetings of peace!
I share the same endeavor as your wife. My husband [Jonas Burgos] was taken away from me, too. He was abducted by the military last 2007. We are nearing the eighth year of his disappearance. It is difficult, yes, but my family and I will never stop until we have found him, you, and all the other disappeared. Yes, even if it happens that we may have already found my husband, we will continue to search for the others. It is because we know how hard it is for the families and friends left behind by the disappeared. We want this all to end. Nobody must be disappeared again.
Shui Meng and I write each other whenever we can. We need each other as well as all the other relatives of the other disappeared. We support and comfort one another so we can continue on strong with the search. I know you would be very proud of your wife because she never stops searching and fighting for you, to get you back. And I know my husband is just as proud of me, too, for doing the same.
When we remembered the International Day of the Disappeared last Aug. 31, I had a butterfly land on me when we were about to start the march. I whispered a message to it for my husband…In our country, we have this belief that butterflies may carry messages for people in some special way. I will send you a butterfly, Sombath. Keep strong and keep the faith. God is with all of us always!
My prayers and support, Mhe-Ann
Education is too important to be left only in the hands of teachers and bureaucrats at the Ministry of Education. Educators and teachers need to work hand-in-hand with parents, the community, the private sector, and most especially, children themselves to transform the business of education.
Education has to become more participatory, experiential and stimulating. It has to be more fun. Both the process and content of education have to unleash the potential of every child to solve life problems. Education should be able to integrate information and knowledge into a coherent whole.
Sombath, in “Experiential Learning in Lao Rice Fields,” SangSaeng, Summer, 2008.
ຜ່ານໄປແລ້ວກວ່າ 600 ມື້ທີ່ສົມບັດຖືກເອົາຕົວໄປ ຈົນມາຮອດປັດຈຸບັນ ຍັງບໍ່ມີຜົນທີ່ຈະແຈ້ງຈາກການສຶບສວນສອບສວນຂອງເຈົ້າໜ້າທີ່.
ນັບຕັ້ງແຕ່ຕອນນັ້ນ, ມີການລາຍງານຫຼາຍສະບັບທີ່ມີຂໍ້ມູນຈຳນວນຫຼາຍທີ່ມີລາຍລະອຽດກ່ຽວຂ້ອງ, ການປະຕິເສດ, ແລະ ອ້າງວ່າໄດ້ຕັ້ງໜ້າສືບຕໍ່ຢ່າງຮີບດ່ວນ ແລະ ເອົາຈິງເອົາຈັງ.
ຮ່າງເຫດການ ສຳຄັນໆ ທີ່ເກີດຂື້ນຈົນເຖິງປັດຈຸບັນນີ້ສາມາດເບິ່ງໄດ້ຢູ່ບ່ອນນີ້. ຂໍ້ມູນອັບເດດຈະຖືກໂພສຂື້ນຖ້າຫາກວ່າມີ.
ໝູ່ເພື່ອນ, ເພື່ອນຮ່ວມງານ, ແລະ ອົງກອນຕ່າງໆ ຈາກທົ່ວໂລກທີ່ມີຄວາມເປັນຫ່ວງເປັນໄຍໄດ້ສືບຕໍ່ມີຄວາມຫວັງວ່າຈະມີຜົນຄວາມຄືບໜ້າ ແລະ ບໍ່ເຍິ່ນເຍີ້.
Amnesty International has launched a fresh letter writing campaign demanding Lao government action on the enforced disappearance of Sombath.
Sombath has been missing 625 days. Joining this Amnesty effort only takes a few minutes.
Click here to GET INVOLVED!