Sombath’s Story: The Significance of One Marginal Life

Global Asia  March, 2024

By Marwaan Macan-Markar

Silencing of a Laotian Son: The Life, Work and Enforced Disappearance of Sombath Somphone
By Ng Shui Meng
Spirit in Education Movement and International Network of Engaged Buddhists, 2022, 268 pages, $10 (Paperback)

For over 11 years, a Singaporean wife has been haunted by two questions about her Laotian husband: Where is he? What happened to him? She is Ng Shui Meng, who last saw Sombath Somphone driving his rundown jeep on a Saturday evening in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. She was in her car, ahead of Sombath’s, as they headed home for dinner. But he never made it. He was plucked off the streets after being stopped at a police post, bundled into a truck and has never been seen since.

Shui Meng’s ability to trace this chilling display of enforced disappearance serves as an apt opening to her book, which explores the unanswered questions that have haunted her, and the paths in Sombath’s life that led to this nightmare. But what helped her describe the shocking events on that fateful day — Dec. 15, 2012 — also says as much about the oppressive and opaque world of Laos, a communist-ruled, one-party state wedged between China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Continue reading “Sombath’s Story: The Significance of One Marginal Life”

Dear Sombath…from Shui Meng (30)

My dearest Sombath

Today is 17 February, and once again it’s your birthday. You would be 72 years old today. In the past you never wanted to celebrate your birthday, but I would remember, and each year I would cook something special that you liked and wewould have a nice quiet dinner with members of the family. Now, I can only silently send you blessings for your birthday and wish you good health,happiness, and peace wherever you may.

Even though you have been missing for more than 11 years now, never a day passes that I do not think of you and still hope you will come back to me and the family.

Today I want to tell you the action I have taken to make sure that your memory and legacy can continue to live on even after I am gone, and will no longer be there to remind people of your enforced disappearance in 2012.

I have established a Memorial Fund in your name – the “Sombath Somphone Memorial Fund”. This Fund was officially launched in May 2023. It will be managed by the Sathirakoses-Nagapradipa Foundation (SNF), a Thai non-profit foundation, under which SEM (Spirit in Education Movement) and INEB (International Network for Engaged Buddhists) operate. Both SEM and INEB are founded by Ajarn Sulak Sivaraksa, your mentor and Thailand’s most respected social justice activist and leading thinker of Engaged Buddhism.

The Sombath Somphone Memorial Fund’s goal is to continue your vision and mission to give opportunities to children and young people, especially those who lack opportunities and who want to improve themselves to work for the greater benefit of society in a holistic, sustainable, and balanced way with nature and the environment. The ultimate goal of the Fund is to develop the greater wellbeing (happiness) of the self and society as a whole.

The Sombath Memorial Fund will provide small grants of up to US$3,000.00 each to support:

  • Education – To provide full or partial scholarships, especially to marginalized children and young people seeking to complete their education in schools or colleges.
  • Community projects – To provide small grants to active young adults (up to 35 years of age) to initiate start-up work or activities for youth in community education or development.
  • To support organizations providing education or humanitarian relief to at risk children and families.

The Fund will target recipients, especially marginalized children, actively and socially engaged young adults, and at risk children and families in need of emergency support and humanitarian assistance from countries in the Mekong Sub-Region (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam) and the southwest region of China.

These groups and countries are those you have paid most attention to and have worked with in the past.

Financial support for the Fund has come mostly from family and friends and NGOswhich support your work and your development vision. Interest in the Fund has grown rapidly with many friends and supporters, and from people who have not met you but have heard about your work and your enforced disappearance. They have generously made donations to the Fund.

In 2023, the Sombath Somphone Memorial Fund received 61 applications from which 11 applicants from Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam were selected by the Fund Committee to receive awards to support their projects. All the awardees have completed their projects, and last week they have presented results of their projects to the Fund’s Committee.

Sombath, if you have heard their presentations, you would have been so proud of what these young people have done and achieved with the small grants provided to support their work. Many worked under very difficult and challenging situations, especially the awardees from Myanmar and Vietnam, but all demonstrated real commitment and real passion for their work. Most of the awardees have worked in teams and used very creative and innovative approaches to gain support and participation from the communities to reach the objectives they set out to achieve. Their work truly reflect some the principles and values you promoted in your own community-based development work.

Last week, the Fund Committee called for applications for the Sombath Somphone Memorial for 2024. We hope this year the Fund will once more be able to support some worthwhile projects spearheaded by young people who want to make a real change to the communities and societies, just as you have done through your own life and work.

So my dearest Sombath, your legacy lives on even though you have been so unjustly taken away from me and our family and community. Those who committed this ignoble crime against you might have been able silence you, but they could never wipe out your legacy which will live on through the work of the Sombath Somphone Memorial Fund.

My dearest Sombath, I hope this will give you some solace on this your birthday and be comforted by the fact that you are still held up as a model for many young people in the region and beyond.

For myself, my birthday wish to you is that wherever you are, you will be
blessed with another year of good health, happiness and peace.

Love you always, Shui Meng


Laos: 11 years of government inaction on Sombath Somphone’s enforced disappearance

Fidh: 15 December 2023

On the 11-year anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, we, the undersigned civil society organizations and individuals, strongly condemn the Lao government’s continued failure to provide necessary information as to his fate and whereabouts and reiterate our calls to the authorities to deliver truth, justice and reparations to his family.

International concerns over Sombath’s case, expressed by international civil society, United Nations (UN) human rights experts, and UN member states on last year’s anniversary of Sombath’s enforced disappearance, have been ignored by the Lao government. Continue reading “Laos: 11 years of government inaction on Sombath Somphone’s enforced disappearance”

Dear Sombath…from Shui Meng (29)

Meditation training for school children.

My dearest Sombath,

Today is Father’s Day. Many people are sending messages of love and appreciation to their Fathers and Grandfathers. So, I too want to wish you a very happy Father’s Day.

Sombath, you have been such a well-respected and beloved father/uncle figure to so many young people in Laos. Many of them who have been associated with the youth development programs you initiated in PADETC remember you so well. You have made such a great contribution to their growing-up years. Continue reading “Dear Sombath…from Shui Meng (29)”

Laos in limbo heading into 2023

East Asia Forum: 28 January 2023

Author: Kearrin Sims, James Cook University

Laos experienced compounding social and economic pressures in 2022. The headline news story of the year was the country’s dire external debt. 2022 was also significant as it marked the 10th anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone — a community development worker who provided successful alternatives to the econocentric development agenda that underpins Laos’s debt crisis.

At 2.5 per cent, the annual economic growth rate was the second lowest since 1988 and below initial forecasts. Rising public and publicly guaranteed debt are projected to exceed 100 per cent of GDP by the end of the year. This is accompanied by a sharp depreciation of the national currency, the kip, and rising inflation — up from below 2 per cent in 2021 to 37 per cent in October 2022.

At the macroeconomic level, Laos needs to find a solution to its ballooning debt.

China’s decisions will be critical, as it holds half of Laos’ debt. Yet there are rumours of quiet confidence within parts of the Lao government that China will provide a means to avoid default. China–Laos relations continued to strengthen in 2022, with Lao President Thongloun Sisoulith visiting Beijing in December to sign a swathe of new bilateral agreements and reaffirm the two countries’ ‘shared future’.

Passenger travel also started along the China–Laos high-speed railway. While protracted COVID-19 lockdowns limited transborder transit in China, the railway is enormously popular for domestic travel in Laos, with tickets selling out days in advance — despite being difficult to access. Domestic travel will not make the project financially viable — connectivity with China and Thailand is needed for this to occur — but the railway has offered some excitement in an otherwise troubled year.

Laos will seek to balance its increasing engagement with China alongside commitments to other key bilateral partners. Central to this balancing act is Vietnam, with 2022 marking the 60th anniversary of Laos–Vietnam diplomatic ties and the 45th year of the Vietnam–Laos Treaty of Amity and Cooperation. Dubbed the Vietnam–Laos Solidarity and Friendship Year, 2022 saw a US$132 million commitment from the World Bank to fund the upgrading of the Lao National Road 2, which serves as the primary East–West economic corridor linking Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

The effects of macroeconomic challenges have trickled down to negatively impact on the daily lives of citizens through rising cost of living expenses, fuel shortages and constrained household spending on health and education. Crime rates also increased, although the main cause for this appears to be a growth in methamphetamine circulation. This is connected to transnational organised crime networks that are intimately linked to the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (GTSEZ).

In 2022, around 400 drug smugglers were arrested in Bokeo province — home of the GTSEZ — with seizures amounting to 23 million methamphetamine pills, 866 kilograms of crystal ice and 60 kilograms of heroin. Debt bondage and human trafficking also occurred within the zone, with nationals from India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Kenya and Burundi all rescued from trafficking syndicates across Laos.

Yet, bizarrely, in October, the Lao government awarded the reputed ‘Chairman’ of GTSEZ, Zhao Wei, a Medal of Bravery for his contribution to national defence and national public security.

In the political sphere, Laos continues to rank poorly on international freedom and transparency indexes. There were shifts in senior party positions following the expansion of economic woes and calls for greener growth. This year saw the death of the last Mekong River dolphins in Laos. There are ongoing concerns related to the impact of Mekong Mainstream dams on vulnerable and endangered species.

There are also calls for more job creation. The United Nations Development Programme’s 6th National Human Development Report, released in November 2022, focuses on ‘what investments should be made to leverage contributions of youths to the national socio-economic development, provide opportunities and support for empowered lives’.

This call for youth empowerment carries forward the ideas of Sombath Somphone, who dedicated much of his life to empowering young people and whose work was internationally recognised as bringing many benefits to disadvantaged communities. Laos did not progress investigations into his enforced disappearance. The problem is that Sombath’s successes posed a threat to elite exploitation and the extractivist development model that has served elite wealth accumulation so well.

Since Sombath’s disappearance in 2012, there have been more suspected enforced disappearances, including four Thai political activists, four members of the Hmong ethnic minority group as well as Lao national Od Sayavong in Thailand in 2019. Violence against Christians also continued, including the reported murder of a pastor.

As 2022 draws to a close, there is much uncertainty as to what comes next for Laos.

The economic challenges faced by Laos do not indicate that the current growth-centric, extractivist and debt-inducing model of development will significantly change. Next year will likely bring continued hardship for many who lost their jobs over the past two years and are facing increasing living costs.

If there is ever a time to rethink development priorities in Laos, it is with the coming together of a national economic crisis and the 10-year anniversary of Sombath Somphone’s disappearance.

Kearrin Sims is a research fellow of the Cairns Institute and a lecturer of development studies at James Cook University, Cairns.

Dear Sombath…from Shui Meng (28)

My dearest Sombath,

Yesterday, 17 February, was your birthday. Every time when your birthday comes along, I always miss you even more. I started to write this letter to you, but I could not finish it because it was too painful. It’s been 10 years that you have not been able to spend your birthday with me and your family, and we still don’t know where you are and how you have been this past 10 years.

Even when you were with us, you yourself never remember your birthday, but I will always remember it. Each year on your birthday, I would cook something for you for dinner. In the early days of our marriage, I would try to cook something special, like a roast beef or a good steak. While you were always appreciative and happy with whatever was served up to you, I later realized that what you really liked was something more simple. So later on, I would always try to make what you really liked for your birthday meal, like grilled Mekong fish, wild mushroom soup, and some local vegetables. You told me that simple Lao dishes always reminded you of the food you grew up with, and whenever you had something like a local fish, fresh herbs and wild vegetables, it would always warm your heart and remind you of home.

Sombath, you are truly a man deeply rooted in the land of your birth, and it was much later that I began to truly understand that it was this deep love for the land of your birth that motivated you to devote your time and energy to ensure that your development and education work was always centered around promoting and protecting the best that Laos has to offer – its bio-diversity, and its cultural and spiritual heritage and values.

You told me that many development specialists including the government planners, in the rush to develop the country, often overlooked the special endowments found in the country, and only focused on the drawbacks as factors of under-development. Indeed, you recognized that there were many real challenges that should be addressed to improve the lives and situation of poor Lao people, such as improvement of access and quality of the health and education systems and production processes. However, you also often lamented many of the development solutions proposed by outside specialists were based on imported ideas and strategies, rather than tested local solutions. You, on the other hand believed that Laos, the country and its people, have so much potential, and these potentials were often overlooked because of lack of analytical understanding of the local conditions and practices. That was why you always based your development approaches on the local communities’ own experience and aspirations, rather than on some top-down plans drawn up by external specialists.

A close friend who worked with you in many development areas and appreciated your approaches wrote this about your work to mark the 10th anniversary of your enforced disappearance, which I find really pays tribute to your work. And this is what she wrote:

Sombath, more than ever right

Every day of the last ten years has proved Sombath right. The world witnesses ecological, social and economic crisis. Climate change causes unprecedented disasters, and ecosystem destruction opens the door to pandemic. Younger generations are increasingly worried about their future.

Sombath has been leading the way by practicing sustainable living, calling for radical changes in production and consumption models, exploring alternative development for his country, and investing in young people.

In Laos, the few too coward to engage in a debate, too weak to question themselves, too greedy to curb their enrichment, too scared to face a growing movement, and those few with too much power disappeared Sombath. But they cannot prevent planted seeds to grow.

Sombath continues to live in each of us who had the privilege to know him, each of us he shared his wisdom with, each of us who crossed path with him on his farm, or in a conference room. And Sombath will continue to shine far beyond, as time increasingly proves him right.

I am blessed I met Sombath, I am happy we became friends, I am grateful for all I learnt from him. On our family farm in Indonesia, by following his footsteps toward a sustainable living, we pay tribute to Sombath, to his humanity, to his kindness and to his humility.

Anne-Sophie, a friend

My dearest Sombath, on this your birthday, I want you to be happy and to know that you are still so well remembered by your friends and all those whose lives you have touched. For me, I wish you, wherever you are, another year of good health, happiness and peace.

Love you always, Shui Meng

LAOS – DISPARITION : Dix ans après, l’exigence de vérité sur la disparition de Sombath Somphone

Gavroche Thailande: 25 December 2022 Journaliste : Yves Carmona

Notre ami et chroniqueur Yves Carmona a été Ambassadeur de France au Laos. Il nous livre, dix ans après la disparition du militant laotien des droits de l’homme, un retour poignant sur ce kidnapping qui n’est toujours pas élucidé.

Ce nom ne dit sans doute rien à la plupart des lecteurs. Sa disparition il y a 10 ans  n’a jamais été élucidée et personne, y compris l’auteur de ces lignes, ne sait où il est ni n’a obtenu d’explication du gouvernement sur sa disparition.

Or au même moment, le gouvernement laotien a su faire preuve d’humanité. Comment expliquer un tel paradoxe ?

1/ La disparition de Sombath a connu une grande résonance

Tout part d’un double malentendu. Le Laos a obtenu l’organisation, pour la première fois, d’un « forum de dialogue », l’ASEM, encore jeune [2].

Il s’agissait de mieux équilibrer le triangle État-Unis, Europe, Asie dont l’Uruguay round avait montré, avec les réunions régulières et créatrices de normes de l’APEC [3] qu’il fallait l’équilibrer d’une branche euro-asiatique et c’est le ministre indonésien des affaires étrangères, Ali Alatas qui a promu l’idée à laquelle il a rallié son Premier ministre Goh Chok Tong ainsi que Jacques Chirac qui l’a mise en œuvre dès l’élection présidentielle de 1995.

Le 9ème sommet des chefs d’État, dont le Président Hollande, et de gouvernements s’est effectivement tenu les 5 et 6 novembre 2012,  le forum d’hommes d’affaires (AEBF) – quelque peu acrobatique dans un pays réputé communiste et le forum des peuples (AEPF) ainsi que le forum parlementaire (ASEP). L’ASEM a également donné naissance en 1997 au forum sur la Culture (ASEF) qui relève désormais d’une autre structure.

Double malentendu : le Laos, petit pays pauvre, enclavé, au milieu de l’Asean mais encore peu ouvert avait levé le doigt pour signifier : « pourquoi pas nous »  quand il s’était agit de choisir le prochain pays asiatique organisateur, et personne n’avait eu envie de dire non. Malentendu aussi parce que l’ASEM, ce n’était pas seulement l’organisation parfaite d’une réunion solennelle de deux jours avec le gratin des pays membres, dans un centre de congrès tout neuf dont on avait enlevé peu avant les inscriptions en chinois car seules des entreprises chinoises payées par la Chine l’avaient construit en un temps record…

C’était aussi l’AEPF, forum des peuples. Ce forum des peuples a réuni à Vientiane, du 16 au 19 octobre 2012 plus de mille délégués représentant des ONG.

C’est là que Sombath, fondateur en 1996 de l’association PADETC et distingué en 2005 par le « prix Ramon Magsaysay » pour avoir su assurer le développement communautaire dans son pays est apparu en pleine lumière et a pris le risque de son enlèvement. La réunion de l’AEPF s’est tenue à l’Institut français de Vientiane, seule salle de réunion assez grande et non inféodée au Pathet Lao. Le public sur les gradins comportait forcément bon nombre de policiers en civil qui ont entendu le courageux Sombat attaquer l’appropriation des terres par des riches au détriment des paysans et défendre une société moins inégalitaire – il n’a jamais attaqué le capitalisme, préférant l’action concrète aux slogans politiques dont il savait qu’ils ne mènent nulle part.

Autre élément de contexte, les attaques de prétendus défenseurs des droits de l’homme qui prenaient à témoin les chefs d’État et de gouvernement de leurs violations [6], réelles pour certaines, fantasmées pour d’autres – comme les mauvais traitements infligés à certains Hmongs mais pas tous puisque la Présidente de l’assemblée nationale en était issue et qu’une visite dans la région où ils étaient le plus nombreux montrait que beaucoup cherchaient à faire vivre leur identité dans un pays pauvre, pas à attaquer le régime. Celui-ci était et reste avant tout soucieux de défendre l’intégrité d’un pays qui a dû depuis des siècles la défendre, avant même la colonisation et l’atroce guerre du Vietnam dont le Laos a été – et est encore à travers les bombes non explosées – la victime collatérale.

2/ 10 ans après avoir été enlevé, Sombath n’est pas oublié.

Son épouse Shui Meng  a écrit le 15 décembre sur Facebook : « En ce 10ème anniversaire de la disparition de Sombath, je veux rappeler à tous que Sombath a travaillé pendant plus de 30 ans à améliorer les conditions de vie des pauvres du milieu rural en faisant en sorte que les produits de l’agriculture, l’artisanat et autres produits accèdent au marché en  créant des entreprises d’échange socialement équitable. Il a fondé Taibaan (appelé formellement Saoban) pour qu’elle permette l’accès au marché d’un artisanat fabriqué par des villageoises. Sombat Somphone ne veut qu’une chose : vois les conditions de vie de Laotiens ordinaires s’améliorer. Nous n’oublierons pas Sombat Somphone. »

Il est d’autant moins oublié que l’association qu’il a fondée, le Padetc, existe et continue plus que jamais à remplir sa mission.

«  Enforced Disappearance of Sombath Somphone.

On 15th December 2016, it will be four years since the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone. Sombath was one of the main organizers of AEPF9 held in Vientiane just before ASEM9. Sombath’s abduction on 15th December 2012 was captured by a police CCTV camera. Since then, the Lao Government has provided no meaningful information to Sombath’s family, friends and the public about his abduction and continuing disappearance. Instead, successive statements and actions by the Lao Government indicate a continuing denial of its basic responsibility and obligations.

We should be reminded that while concerns continue to be raised in the confines of the Universal Periodic Review and similar human rights dialogues, the policies and programmes of governments, donors, and development agencies remain largely unaltered. While Laos is the chair of ASEAN this year, for the first time in its history the parallel ASEAN People’s Forum must be held in another country.

We remind all ASEM member states of their human rights obligations, both domestically and internationally. We sincerely demand that the Lao Government complete their investigation into Sombath’s disappearance, make public the investigation report, and take forward appropriate legal processes against the perpetrators of the crime. We urge ASEM member states to monitor the fulfillment of these demands and ensure that Sombath and his family receive the justice that is surely their right and that he is returned safely to his family. »

3/  Comme de coutume, tentons de reconstituer les faits.

Ils sont évoqués de manière accablante dans la déclaration ci-dessus. Sombath circulait dans sa voiture personnelle sur une des avenues les plus fréquentées de la ville le 15 décembre quand il a été arrêté. On voit sur les images des caméras de surveillance, images qui ont été filmées par son épouse Shui Meng, inquiète de ne pas le voir revenir, sur les écrans de la police ( !) un homme le faire sortir de force de sa voiture et l’obliger à monter dans un autre véhicule parti ensuite pour une destination inconnue. Personne ne l’a plus jamais revu.

Les images que chacun peut consulter témoignent de l’amateurisme de son enlèvement, cela fait penser aux escadrons de la mort. En général, dans les dictatures y compris au Laos, on s’y prend de manière mieux préparée pour faire disparaître les adversaires du régime.

Elle a en tout cas suscité une émotion considérable y compris dans la communauté diplomatique dans son ensemble au début, notamment singapourienne puisque l’épouse de Sombath en avait la nationalité, mais bien vite les diplomates asiatiques, sans doute sur instructions, ont évité de poser au gouvernement des questions désagréables. Restaient les Occidentaux et en particulier ceux de l’Union européenne dont les représentants n’ont jamais manqué de rappeler le cas Sombath aux Tables rondes sur le développement qu’elle co-présidait, dont le rapport était porté au Président Sayasone, ou aux membres laotiens du gouvernement, prenant le risque d’expulsion.

S’ils ont tous considéré comme inacceptable cet enlèvement, ils ont fini par renoncer à interpeller le pouvoir.

D’autre part, des rumeurs très tôt ont tenté de déconsidérer Sombath, l’accusant de s’être enfui en Thaïlande avec une jeune femme et allant jusqu’à prétendre savoir où il se trouvait pour extorquer de l’argent à son épouse. L’objectif était comme il est fréquent de terroriser, à telle enseigne qu’une plaisanterie émise auprès d’un directeur adjoint du protocole du ministère des affaires étrangères a suscité de sa part l’effroi : « je ne sais rien, je ne veux rien savoir »

4/ Pourtant, au plus haut du pouvoir, un homme, un des quatre vice-premier ministres, Somsavat Lengsavad, a montré en maintes occasions qu’il voulait aussi le bien de son pays. A plusieurs reprises, bien que lui-même d’origine en partie chinoise, il a téléphoné en plein entretien au préfet de Luang Prabang, capitale royale dont il était originaire, pour éviter que le chemin de fer  chinois  ne passe au milieu de la ville. Il a ensuite pris sa retraite en disparaissant de la nomenklatura du Pathet Lao et le chemin de fer a finalement été réalisé, sans qu’aucune relation ne puisse bien sûr être établie entre ces deux faits.

Conclusion personnelle : l’auteur de ces lignes ne peut s’empêcher de penser que la disparition de Sombath est plus une bavure qu’un enlèvement décidé au sommet du pouvoir. Il a été victime de rapports de force au sein de l’équipe dirigeante, les « extrémistes » se sentant menacés et trouvant que les « modérés » étaient trop mous – mollesse à relativiser si on pense que le même régime est né dans le massacre du couple royal et la mort d’un nombre indéterminé de Laotiens, la fuite des plus chanceux à travers le fleuve Mékong et encore aujourd’hui expulse ou menace d’expulsion ceux qui osent élever la voix – et ont donc improvisé l’enlèvement d’une personnalité gênante.

 Reste que son épouse Shui Meng veut croire qu’il va revenir et la cruauté d’un tel traitement ne saurait faire l’objet d’un pardon – peut-être l’aveu de ceux qui savent sera-t-il formulé un jour.

10 ปี การหายตัวของ ‘สมบัด สมพอน’ ประชาสังคมโลก ทวงถาม รัฐบาลลาว ‘สมบัดหายไปไหน’

ประชาไท: 16 ธ.ค. 2022

สมบัด สมพอน

เมื่อวันที่ 15 ธ.ค. ที่ผ่านมา เป็นวันครบรอบ 10 ปี ที่สมบัด สมพอน นักกิจกรรม ภาคประชาสังคมลาวหายตัวไป ก่อนหน้าเมื่อไม่นานมานี้กลุ่มองค์กร ภาคประชาสังคมจากทั่วโลกรวม 66 องค์กรและบุคคลอื่น ได้ออกแถลงการณ์ เรียกร้องให้รัฐบาลลาวให้ความกระจ่าง ถึงชะตากรรมของสมบัด ในเรื่องที่เขาถูกนำตัวไปอยู่ที่ไหนอย่างไร และให้ความเป็นธรรม ให้ข้อเท็จจริง รวมถึงมีการชดเชยแก่ครอบครัวของสมบัดด้วย

สมบัด สมพอน เป็นคนที่ทำงานภาคประชาสังคมในด้านการพัฒนาและการส่งเสริมให้เยาวชน สื่อบางแห่งนับว่าเขาเป็นผู้บุกเบิกองค์กรภาคประชาสังคมที่มีชื่อเสียงที่สุดในลาว เหตุการณ์หายตัวไปของสมบัดเกิดขึ้นเมื่อวันที่ 15 ธ.ค. 2555 เขาถูกสั่งให้หยุดที่ด่านตรวจแห่งหนึ่งในย่านรอบนอกของเมืองหลวงเวียงจันทร์ ภาพจากกล้องวิดีโอวงจรปิดแสดงให้เห็นว่าหลังจากนั้นก็มีคนนำตัวสมบัดไปขึ้นรถอีก คันหนึ่ง แล้วก็ไม่มีใครพบตัวเขาอีกเลย Continue reading “10 ปี การหายตัวของ ‘สมบัด สมพอน’ ประชาสังคมโลก ทวงถาม รัฐบาลลาว ‘สมบัดหายไปไหน’”

社会活動家の「失踪」、東南アジアで相次ぐ 当局関与疑う家族の訴え

Mainichi: 18 December 2022



「この10年間、何度もラオス政府に調査を訴えたが『知らない』と言われるばかりだった」。ソムバットさんの妻ウン・シュイメンさんは13日、タイの首都バンコクで開いた記者会見でこう訴えた。 Continue reading “社会活動家の「失踪」、東南アジアで相次ぐ 当局関与疑う家族の訴え”

Dear Sombath…from Shui Meng (27)

At Wat Pa Nakhounnoi with friends to remember
the 10th anniversary of the Disappearance of Sombath

My dearest Sombath,

December 15 2022 marks the 10th anniversary of your abduction by the police in front of a police post on Thadeau Road. Every day for 10 long years, when I drive by that fateful police post each time I go home, I cannot but re-live how you have been stopped by the police and how you have been taken away never to be seen again. I also relive how I have begged and appealed to the Lao authorities to give me information as to what happened, why you have been taken, where have you been taken, and to investigate the case and return you safely to me and the family.

But Sombath, after 10 long years, I still have no answers as to what happened to you. All I have are the grainy footages caught on the police CCTV camera of how you were abducted – each frame showing clear evidence as to what happened to you on that fateful evening. That incriminating evidence remains in the public consciousness. Continue reading “Dear Sombath…from Shui Meng (27)”