Notable Quotes

“Most people are now too scared…”

“Before the disappearance of Sombath, there was some optimism that civil society could be a force for change in Laos. Since his disappearance, such hopes have been virtually extinguished, since most people are now too scared to do anything that might rile the regime,” Martin Steward-Fox in Laos: Reform or Revolution, The Diplomat, 28 September 2016

... continue reading.

“By 1980, he was home again”

Sombath Somphone’s early life took place amidst uncertainty and turbulence as Laos was swept into the Indochina War. He eventually escaped this by winning a scholarship to the University of Hawaii, where he earned degrees in education and agriculture. By 1980, he was home again. That same year Sombath helped launch the Rice-Based Integrated Farm

... continue reading.

Limited Freedom of Expression

The ACSC/APF 2016 will not take place in Lao PDR, due to concerns over possible restrictions and limited freedom of expression on key issues of concerns of ASEAN which are inconsistent with the agreed ACSC/APF’s modality of engagement. From the CSO Statement of the 2016 ACSC/APF recently held in Timor Leste. Ironically, the forum’s Regional Steering Committee

... continue reading.

How about a little financial pressure?

SB-prayerThey have disappeared him. His name is Sombath Somphone, and he was — I’m not sure what the right tense is — a civil-society leader. They snatched him out of his car…

I’m thinking, “Can’t some government turn the screws on Laos — the financial screws — until they cough this man up? Should it be that hard? It doesn’t require an invasion or the breaking of diplomatic relations or anything, does it? How about a little financial pressure, à la the Magnitsky Act? Anything!”

Jay Nordlinger, in Trolls, Wales, whales, Nobelists, heroes, heroines … National Review, 02 June 2016

BertelsmannStiftung Foundation’s 2016 Report

BertelsmannStiftung Foundation: 2016 Party leaders furthermore urged tighter control over civil society organizations in the face of alleged but unsubstantiated efforts to undermine the party. In the wake of community leader Sombath Somphone’s unexplained disappearance in late 2012, the deplorable investigation of which attracted condemnation from around the world, increased pressure on civil society organizations

... continue reading.

Amnesty’s new report on Laos

Amnesty International Sombath Somphone, a prominent civil society member who was abducted outside a police post in the capital, Vientiane, in December 2012, remained disappeared with no progress in his case. In March, a former military general heading a non-profit organization – widely believed to be a government proxy – made a failed attempt to

... continue reading.

Accidental Heroine

Bangkok Post: 05 January 2016 Not prepared to play the victim even after the recent ruling on the disappearance of her lawyer husband, Angkhana Neelapaijit is dedicating her life to helping others who suffer abuse of rights… Angkhana was known in security quarters as a daring, stubborn and outspoken widow who has always reminded the

... continue reading.

Lao government spurns ASEAN civil society

In Laos, which will chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) next year, the government refused to allow a meeting of Southeast Asian civil society groups on the sideline of an upcoming ASEAN summit, and has provided no new information on the whereabouts of Sombath Somphone. He was probably Laos’s best-known civil society activist

... continue reading.

UK Minister of State speaks up for Sombath

We remain very concerned as to the whereabouts of Mr Sombath Somphone. We regularly raise his disappearance with the Lao government. Laos underwent its second UN Universal Periodic Review under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, earlier this year. The United Kingdom’s recommendation calling on the Lao government to conduct a thorough, transparent and

... continue reading.

CSOs operate in fear

“The working climate of Lao CSOs, which has been restricted by the government since Sombath’s disappearance, is an outstanding issue, so I wonder if development partners … will be willing to raise it. So far, I see that CSOs operate in fear—being threatened by governmental officials,” the official said. From “Development Partners Must Hold Lao

... continue reading.