A number of international groups have called on European parliamentarians visiting Laos to maintain pressure to secure the release of Sombath Somphone. In part, the letter reads:
In line with the EU’s commitments to promote human rights through all its external actions, we call on you during your upcoming EP delegation visit to urge the Lao government to:
- Ensure the safe and immediate return of Sombath Somphone.
- Answer the many outstanding questions around Sombath’s disappearance and establish an independent commission to investigate the case.
- Fully investigate the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone in a timely and transparent manner, appropriately prosecuting those responsible.
- Address repression of civil and political rights, including freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly in Laos and ensure an enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders.
Until Sombath Somphone is back safely with his family, his case will not be forgotten and calls for his return will persist.
The full letter can be read here.