The primary concern is for Sombath’s safe return and answers for his family, but we should also not put his ideas and vision on hold:
- Education that embraces and nourishes the heart and creativity of young people
- A more humane, sustainable and equitable approach to development
- A respect for the earth and the rich cultural heritage that has sustained Lao people for centuries
Direct Pressure: While scores of appeals to the Lao leadership have had little visible effect, Sombath’s disappearance has shone a harsher light on the Lao PDR’s human rights practices, and inequitable and unsustainable development policies. The Lao authorities hope this issue will fade. For the sake of Sombath, his family and his vision, don’t let that happen.
Write: A list of people and offices to contact can be found here. Points to consider:
- Emphasize the good work Sombath has done in education, agriculture, sustainable development, and as a civil society leader.
- Note the relationship between economic development and human rights. A modern country is one that respects the rights of all citizens.
- Indicate that the continued disappearance of a well-known and highly-respected person like Sombath is affecting the international image of Laos, with possible consequences for investment, tourism, and foreign aid.
Indirect Pressure: As can be seen from the Statements and Appeals page, support from around the world has been remarkable and sustained. Help to continue this, as those responsible should not be allowed to return to ‘business as usual.’
Lobby: Key institutions include:
- Your government, particularly if you live in the ASEAN region, or your country provides significant aid to Laos.
- ASEAN, or the ASEAN Intergovermental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)
- Civil society organisations in Laos or their networks such as the INGO Network or the Learning House.
Letters to Sombath: Raise your own voice and help sustain that of Sombath by writing a letter. The original appeal can be seen here, and examples of previous letters here. Those who have worked with Sombath are particularly encouraged, but others who have never met him have also made powerful contributions.
Where is Sombath? People from across the world continue to ask “Where is Sombath?” Some pictures they have sent are here. Send your own picture (or letter) to Sombathinfo@gmail.com.
Social Media: Participate and share in various social media:
- The Sombath Initiative, Find Sombat Somphone, Sombath Somphone & Beyond, Sombath Somphone Family and others on Facebook.
- The Sombath Initiative, and Find Sombath on Twitter
- The Sombath Initiatve on Google +
Support Others who are supporting the cause: Many groups and organisations are making valuable contributions. Please join with them.
- (Update in progress. Your patience is appreciated.)
Contact: Send ideas, suggestions or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org