The Sombath Initiative

The Tragedy of Enforced Disappearances

Sombath Somphone and the Tragedy of Enforced Disappearances: A Press Conference and Interactive Dialogue was held at the FCCT in Bangkok, Thailand on 19 December 2016. Panelists included: Pinnipa Preuksapan, wife of Pholachi “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, ethnic Karen land and rights activist Angkhana Neelapaijit, Commissioner, National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, and wife of activist lawyer

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What is…Civil Society in Laos?

Briefing paper prepared by the Sombath Initiative Historically, the Lao PDR is a country of remarkable ethnic, linguistic and geographic diversity. Until recently, most communities, particularly in rural areas, were largely self- sustaining and locally-governed. A strong, traditional civil society still exists. Substantially supported through development aid, state-building is quickly replacing these traditional codes and

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ASEAN in Laos: Challenges of Leadership, Human Rights & Democracy

Press conference held at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand on 31 August, 2016, Bangkok  Panelists included (click on link for their presentation): Shui Meng Ng, Spouse of Sombath Somphone Walden Bello, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights Laurent Meillan, Acting Regional Representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights With moderation by Phil Robertson, Deputy Director

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Human rights under scrutiny in Laos ahead of ASEAN meet

Anadolu Agency: 31 August 2016 One week before Laos hosts a summit of Southeast Asian leaders, international rights groups are demanding that Thailand’s sleepy northern neighbor improve its human rights situation. But while advocates have underscored the state of human rights in the country, the wife of a prominent civil society leader who disappeared after being

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An open letter to the 2016 Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM)

On the occasion of the eleventh Asia-Europe People’s Forum in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, we are reminded of the ninth AEPF held in Vientiane, the capital of the Lao PDR, in 2012. As the first international civil society forum held in the country, and building on widespread public consultations in every province, AEPF9 was hailed as

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