Roundtable Discussion: What does Sombath Somphone’s abduction signal to ASEAN?

A report on this meeting has now been published by the Bangkok Post, which can be read here:  Activists slam Asean’s lack of commitment to human rights

9:00 to 12:00 am – Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013
Student Christian Center, Bangkok
Hua Chang Bridge (5 minutes walk from Rachadevi Sky Train station)


  • Center for Peace and Conflict Studies. Chulalongkorn University
  • NGO Coordination Committee on Development (NGO COD)
  • ASEAN Watch – Thailand
  • Thai Working Group on Sombath Somphone

Sombath Somphone – Lao senior development worker, promoter of ‘Gross Sombat at Ramon Magsasay Award CeremonyNational Happiness’ concept, the 1995 Ramon Magsaysay awardee – has in a certain way assumed a significant role in the modern age of Laos that attempts to show its readiness for playing an equal role with others in the global community. Thus the CCTV clip showing his being abducted on 15 December 2012 in downtown Vientiane by a group of men has caused a situation that not only shocks his friends, colleagues and entire civil society in Laos; but those individuals, organizations as well as establishments on every level. Civil society organizations in ASEAN and international community including the EU, US government and UN agencies have urged Lao government to take urgent investigations and disclose the results.

This round table will address the case of Sombath Somphon’s abduction, which has brought up the urgent need to review particular key, but hidden issues confronted by ASEAN community including human rights and the emergence of new actors amid ASEAN’s economic liberalization that has considerable influence to determine the fate of countries and the people of Mekong basin and perhaps the entire ASEAN. Also, it will discuss questions related to possible future threats facing individuals and communities of the region, particularly the violation of basic rights of its people that will likely continue to worsen. The ‘roundtable’ panelists are a combination of academic specialized in ASEAN affairs, NGO activist working on critical issues related to ASEAN, Thailand National Human Rights Commissioner, and eminent Thai human rights advocate who has direct experience Re: enforced disappearance.


9.00                 Greeting and introduction of panelists
9:15-9:35         Lead presentation by Professor Surichai Wankeo, Director, of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, Chulalongkorn University
9.-35-9.55        Dr. Niran Pitakvachara, Thailand National Human Rights Commissioner
9:55-10:15       Witoon Lianchamroon, Director, BioThai Foundation
10:15-10:35     Angkana Neelapaijit, Director, Justice for Peace Foundation
10:35 -10:50    Coffee Break.
10:50 -12:00    Open for questions and comments

Note: Earphone translation will be available for foreign participants and journalists throughout the discussion

For more information, please contact: [email protected] or Tel. +66 86 3942113

Find more information about Sombath Somphone, his works and the update information at