…At the end of 2012 the Lao authorities kidnapped one of the countries most prominent NGO leaders, Sombath Somphone, without a murmur in Laos, and without any sense that they should be accountable. Since then the NGO sector has been frozen with fear. …In a society of hyper-politicization one becomes apolitical, and that includes foreigners... continue reading.
Index on Censorship: 12 May 2014 By Helen Clark When travellers and writers talk about Laos, they mention how peaceful it is, and how Buddhist. The people, says Lonely Planet, are some of the most chilled out in the world. People forget, as they rarely do with Vietnam or China, that it is still a... continue reading.
The Eugene Weekly: 17 April 2014 By Camilla Mortensen Sombath Somphone is “one of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic’s most respected civil society figures,” according to a December 2013 press statement from Secretary of State John Kerry on the one year anniversary of Sombath’s disappearance. Sombath was kidnapped from a police checkpoint in Laos and... continue reading.
Bangkok Post: 14 December 2013 A year ago, Ng Shui-Meng watched a closed-circuit police video in disbelief as it revealed the moment her husband, the most prominent civil rights advocate in Laos, disappeared. It shows Sombath Somphone being stopped by traffic police on his way home around 6pm on Dec 15, 2012. A man in... continue reading.
Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association, included Sombath in his presentation at the High Level Event on Supporting Civil Society at the United Nations in New York on 23 September. The video clip is below. The entire video can be seen here, and the... continue reading.
First they came for the communists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist. Then they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for me,... continue reading.
Vancouver Sun, April 30, 2013 Officials of one-party state almost certainly behind abduction even though Sombath Somphone took care to never challenge the government BY JONATHAN MANTHORPE It’s hard to guess when Sombath Somphone crossed the line from being an accepted and cherished champion of rural development in Laos, to becoming a perceived threat to... continue reading.
NGO community fears Sombath Somphone’s disappearance represents start of a crackdown on dissenting voices Fred Pearce The Guardian: Wednesday 13 March 2013 Sombath Somphone was snatched on a busy street in Laos’ capital Vientiane last December, while police officers looked on. The 60-year-old was stopped by police in his 4×4, but two people in plain... continue reading.