We need answers, truth, and justice.

afad-logoThe Asian Federation against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) is holding its Third Conference on Psychosocial Support in the Search for Truth and Justice for Victims of Enforced Disappearance, Torture and Extrajudicial Execution in Manila on July 17-20.

Shui Meng Ng gave remarks during the first morning, sharing in part:

The reason why I am here with you today is that I still hang on to a glimmer of hope that Sombath will be found and will be returned. But, apart from the fact that this glimmer of hope drives me on and makes me get out of bed everyday, is that I know for a fact that the perpetrators of impunity and injustice and the systems and structures that sustain them, would not care whether we live or die. They would be glad to see us the victims go under and fade away. And that is why, we the victims and the family members of the victims, cannot accept to just fade away. We need answers, we need truth, and we need justice.

SM-AFAD

A live blog and more details of the conference are available here.

ຄວາມຄືບໜ້າການສືບສວນສອບສວນ: ຖົດຖອຍກັບໄປຫຼາຍກວ່າເກົ່າ

sombath-somphone-response-to-senate-20140616-1-1ຈົດ​ໝາຍເມື່ອ​ວັນ​ທີ 21 ພຶດສະ​ພາ​ຜ່ານ​ມາ​​ເຖິງ​ພະນະ​ທ່ານ ຈອນ ຮອກ (John Hogg) ປະທານສະພາ​ອົດ​ສະ​ຕາ​ລີ ​ແລະ​​​ເຊິ່ງກໍເປັນ​ການ​ຕອບສະໜອງ​ຕໍ່ ​ຍັດຕິ​ທີ່ຜ່ານ​ໂດຍວຸດ​ທິສະພາ​ອົດ​ສະ​ຕາ​ລີ ​​ໂດຍທ່ານ ພົມມາ ຄຳ​ມະນີ​ຈັນ, ​ເອກ​ອັກ​ຄະ​ລັດຖະທູ​ດວິ​ສາມັນ ຜູ້​ມີ​ອຳນາດ​​ເຕັມ ​ໄດ້ກ່າວ​ໄວ້​ດັ່ງ​ນີ້:

 …ຕັ້ງ​ແຕ່​ເຫດ​ການ​ໄດ້​ຖືກ​ເປີດ​ເຜີຍ, ​ເຈົ້າ​ໜ້າ​ທີ່​ໄດ້ທີ່​ກ່ຽວຂ້ອງ​ໄດ້​ດຳ​ເນີນຂັ້ນ​ຕອນ​ການ​ສືບສວນ​ສອບ​ສວນ​ຢ່າງ​ລະອຽດ​ລະ​ອໍ ​ແລະ ​ໄດ້​ເກັບຮວບ​ຮວມຂໍ້​ມູນຈຳນວນ​ໜຶ່ງ ​ທີ່​ອາດ​ຈະ​ກ່ຽວຂ້ອງ​ກັບ​ການ​ຫາຍຕົວ​ໄປ​ຂອງ ສົມບັດ ສົມ​ພອນ… ​ມາ​ຮອດ​ປັດຈຸບັນ ໜ່ວຍ​ງານ​ທີ່​ກ່ຽວຂ້ອງກຳລັງ​ດຳ​ເນີນ​ການ​ຢ່າງ​ຈິງ​ຈັງ​​ໃນ​ການ​ສືບສວນ​ສອບ​ສວນ (ແປຈາກພາສາອັງກິດແລະເພີ້ມຕື່ມໂຕ​ໜັງສື​​ເຂັ້ມ​​ຕອນ​ຫຼັ)

ໃນ​ຈົດໝາຍ​ຍັງ​ໄດ້​ຢືນຢັນ​​ເພີ້ມຕື່ມ​ວ່າ:

ພາບບັນທຶກ​ຈາກ​ກ້ອງ​ວົງ​ຈອນ​ປິດຈາກ​ຕຳຫຼວດ ທີ່​ຖືກ​ເຜີຍ​​ແຜ່​ຢ່າງ​ກວ້າງ​ຂວາງ​ເທິງ​ອິນ​ເຕີ​​ເນັດ ​ເຊິ່ງມາ​ຈາກ​ພັນ​ລະ​ຍາ​ຂອງ​ສົມບັດ, ຄວາມ​ຈິງ​ແລ້ວ ​ເປັນ​ພາບ​ທີ່​ບໍ່​ຈະ​ແຈ້ງວ່າ​ແມ່​​ນໃຜ ຫຼື ມີ​ຫຍັງ​ຢູ່​ໃນ​ນັ້ນ. ດັ່ງ​ນັ້ນ​ຈຶ່ງ​ບໍ່​ສາມາດ​ຢືນຢັນ​ໄດ້​ວ່າ​ມີ​​ເຫດການ​ຫຍັງ​ເກີດ​ຂື້ນ​ແທ້ໆທີ່​ກ່ຽວຂ້ອງ​ກັບ​ບຸກຄົນ​ ​ແລະ ລົດ​ທີ່​ປາກົດ​ໃຫ້​ເຫັນ​ໃນ​ພາບ​ບັນທຶກ​ດັ່ງກ່າວ. ​ໂດຍສ​ະ​ເພາະ ການ​ລະ​ບຸ​ໂຕ​ສົມບັດ​ເອງ ກໍ​ບໍ່​ສາມາດ​ລະບຸ​ໄດ້ຈະ​ແຈ້ງ. ດັ່ງ​ນັ້ນ ຜູ້​ຄົນ​ບໍ່​ສາມາດ​ຕັ້ງ​ຂໍ້​ສົງ​ໃສ​ໄດ້​ວ່າ​ສົມບັດ​ແມ່ນ​ຫາຍ​ຕົວ​ໄປ​​ໃນ​ສະຖານ​ທີ່​ທີ່​ພາບ​ກ້ອງ​ວົງ​ຈອນ​ປິດ​ບັນທຶກ​ໄວ້​ນັ້ນ​ແທ້​ບໍ່. (ແປຈາກພາສາອັງກິດແລະເພີ້ມຕື່ມໂຕ​ໜັງສື​​ເຂັ້ມ​​ຕອນ​ຫຼັງ)

ຢ່າງ​ໃດກໍ​ຕາມ, ສິ່ງນີ້​ບໍ່​​ກົງ​ກັບ​ທີ່​ມີ​ການ​ລາຍ​ງານ​ໃຫ້​ກັບ ສະມາຊິກສະພາຈາ​ກກຸ່ມ​ປະ​ເທດໃນ​ອາ​ຊຽນ ​(ASEAN Parliamentarians) ​ເມື່ອ​ຄັ້ງ​ທີ່​ໄປ​ຢ້ຽມຢາມ​ນະຄອນຫຼວງ​ວຽງ​ຈັນ​ ວັນ​ທີ 16 ມັງກອນ ປີ 2013.

ພວກ​ຂ້າພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ສັງ​ເກດ​ເຫັນ​ຄວາມ​ແຕກ​ຕ່າງ​​ໃນ​ການ​ຕອບ​​ໂຕ້​ຂອງ​ເຈົ້າພາບ​ທີ່​ກ່ຽວຂ້ອງ​ກັບ​ເຫດກການ​ການ​ຫາຍ​ຕົວ​ໄປ. ​ເຈົ້າ​ໜ້າ​ທີ່ຫຼາຍ​ທ່ານ​ທີ່​ພວກ​ຂ້າພະ​ເຈົ້າ​ໄດ້​ພົບ​ໄດ້​​ເວົ້າ​ວ່າ ບໍ່​ມີ​ຫຼັກ​ຖານ​ຢືນຢັນ​​ໄດ້ວ່າ ສົມບັດ ​ຂື້ນ​ລົດ​ກະບະ ຫຼັງ​ຈາກ​ລົດ​ຈິບ​ຂອງລາ​ວຖືກ​ເອີ້ນ​ໃຫຢຸດ ດັ່ງ​ທີ່​ປາກົດ​ໃນ​ພາບ​ບັນທຶກ​ກ້ອງ​ວົງ​ຈອນ​ປິດ. ​ແນວ​ໃດ​ກໍ​ຕາມ, ພະນະ​ທ່ານ ​ໄຊ​ຍະ​ການ ສີ​ສຸ​ວົງ , ຫົວໜ້າ​ຫ້ອງການ​ກະຊວງ​ການ​ຕ່າງປະ​ເທດ ​ໄດ້​ກ່າວ​ໄວ້​ວ່າ ສົມບັດ​ສະໝັກ​ໃຈ​ຂື້ນ​​ໄກ​ກັບລົດ​ຄັນ​ດັ່ງກ່າວ (ແປຈາກພາສາອັງກິດແລະເພີ້ມຕື່ມໂຕ​ໜັງສື​​ເຂັ້ມ​​ຕອນ​ຫຼັງ)

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Investigation Update: Yet more Backtracking

sombath-somphone-response-to-senate-20140616-1-1In a 21 May 2014 letter to the Honorable John Hogg, President of the Australian Senate, and in response to a motion passed by the Australian Senate, Phoumma Khammanichanh, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, states:

…since the incident unfolded the authorities concerned have conducted a series of thorough investigation and collected some information that may be relevant to the missing Mr. Sombath Somphone. …At present, the authorities concerned are continuing to seriously carry on the investigation. (Emphasis added)

The letter also asserts:

The CCTV footage obtained from the police and widely posted on the internet by Mr. Sombath’s wife, as a matter of fact, did not give any clear picture of who or what is what therein. Consequently, no one could confirm what really happened for all the persons and vehicles seen in the footage were unclear at all. Particularly Mr. Sombath himself could not be precisely identified. Therefore, many people can not but keep wondering if Mr. Sombath did actually disappear in the place captured by the CCTV. (Emphasis added)

This is not, however, what was reported to a group of Asean Parliamentarians during their visit to Vientiane on 16 January 2013.

We noted discrepancies in our hosts’ accounts of the circumstances of the abduction. Most of the officials we met said that there was no evidence that Sombath got into the pickup truck that appeared in the CCTV footage after his jeep was stopped. Yet Mr. Sakayane Sisouvong, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said Sombath voluntarily boarded that vehicle. (Emphasis added) 

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ສິດທິມະນຸດບໍ່ແມ່ນຕົວປະກອບ

​ໂລກ​ນີ້​ຕ້ອງ​ຍຶດຖືຕາມຖະແຫຼງການສາກົນ ວ່າດ້ວຍ ສິດທິມະນຸດ (UDHR: Universal Declaration of Human Rights), ທີ່​ວ່າ​ສິດທິ​ມະນຸດ​ບໍ່​​ແມ່ນ​ສິ່ງ​ທີ່​ຢູ່​ພາຍ​ໃຕ້​ການ​ອະນຸມັດ​ຂອງ​ລັດຖະບານ … ສິດທິ​ມະນຸດ​​ເປັນ​ເລື່ອງ​ສາກົນ…ພວກ​ເຮົາ​ຕ້ອງ​ຊ່ວຍ​ກັນ​ກົດ​ດັນ​ປະ​ເທດ​ລາວ​ໃຫ້​ຊ່ວຍ​ຊອກ​ຫາ ສົມບັດ ສົມ​ພອນ ​ແລະ ພາລາ​ວກັບ​ມາ​ຢ່າງ​ປອດ​ໄພ … ສິ່ງ​ເຫຼົ່າ​ນີ້​ຈະ​ເປັນ​ຈຸດ​ເລີ່​ມໃນ​ການ​ເປີດ​ປະ​ເດັນ​ກ່ຽວ​ກັບ​ສິດທິຂອງ​ປະຊາຊົນ​ໃນ​ເຂດ​ພາກພື້ນ​ນີ້, ​ແຕ່​ພວກ​ເຮົາ​ບໍ່​ຄວນ​ລ່າ​ຊ້າ​ໄປ​ກວ່າ​ນີ້​ອີກ​ແລ້ວ.

ສິດທິ​ມະນຸດ​ສາກົນ​​​ແມ່ນ​ສິ່ງ​ທີ່ຄົນ​ທຸກ​ຄົນ​ໃນ​ໂລກ​ໃບ​​ນີ້​ລ້ວນ​ເປັນ​ເຈົ້າ​ຂອງ ​ແລະ ລັດຖະບານ​ຈະ​ຕ້ອງ​ຢຸດ​ທຳທ່າ​ສະ​ແດງ​ວ່າ​ສິ່ງ​ນີ້​​ແມ່ນ​ຢູ່​ໃນ​ອຳນາດ​ຂອງ​ພວກ​ເຂົາ​ ​ເພື່ອ​ເປັນ​ຂໍ້​ຍົກ​ເວັ້ນ​ໃຫ້​​ແກ່​ພວກ​ເຂົາ. ສິດທິ​ມະນຸດ​ບໍ່​ແມ່ນ​ສິ່ງ​ປະກອບ​ເພີ້​ມຕື່ມ ຫຼື ​ເປັນ​ສິ່ງ​ທີ່​ຕ້ອງ​ເຮັດ​ຫຼັງ​ຈາກ​ບັນຫາ​ອື່ນໆ ຖືກ​ແກ້​ໄຂ​ແລ້ວ; ມັນ​ແມ່ນ​​ຮາກ​ຖານ​ຂອງ​ການ​ເຕີບ​ໃຫຍ່ ​ແລະ ການວັດ​ແທກ​ການ​ປະພຶດ​ຕົວ​ຕໍ່​ກັນ​ແລະກັນ ​ແລະ ຕໍ່​ຕົວ​ເຮົາ​ເອງ. ​

Jack Healey, ​ຈາກ Huffington Post

Human Rights are not an Add-on

The world must hold the line of the UDHR, that human rights are not subject to government approval… Human rights are universal. …We must press Laos to help locate Sombath Somphone and to return him to safety. …These would be but beginnings in addressing the rights of the peoples in the region, but we must not delay any longer.

Universal human rights are just that, they belong to all the planet’s people and governments should stop pretending that it is in their authority to create exceptions to them. Human rights are not an add-on, or something to do after every other problem is solved; they are the ground from which to grow and measure our treatment of each other and our own selves.

Jack Healey, in the Huffington Post

Gardening

SB-MOHe would be up early in the morning tending to our vegetables and he was very proud of our garden. I think that he got that from his mother. His mother is a fantastic gardener. Even in her old age she has a yard full of fruit trees and vegetables and he still goes to her for gardening advice. He spent a lot of time gardening in the last 6-7 months leading up to his abduction.

Ng Shui Meng, from an interview conducted by Kearrin Sims in April, 2014. Sombath’s mother passed away in June.

 

Soldarity for Sombath in Manila

photo2‘Let Us Not Forget’ Advocacy Launched

The Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines’ Office of Women and Gender Concerns, together with Focus on the Global South, launched a ‘Let Us Not Forget’ campaign through a solidarity mass at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila on June 30. The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances participated in the event.

From hereon, the groups will conduct a ritual for remembering every first Saturday of the month to ensure that the campaign for the safe return of Sombath Somphone of Laos and other desaparecidos of Asia continues.

In the mass, officiating Catholic priest of the UST, Father Quirico, reminded those who were gathered that “forgetting about human dignity is a social sin” that serves as “root of evil doings” such as forcibly abducting and disappearing people.

photo1