Across all social groups, the people strongly emphasized the need for wise leadership and good governance as the fundamental basis for influencing happiness in multiple domains. In particular, they repeatedly stressed the need to consistently enforce laws and ensure social justice as precursors to social equity.
From “Listening to the People’s Voice,” a draft press release summarizing nation-wide consultations held as part of the lead up to the 9th Asia-Europe People’s Forum in October, 2012. The article was drafted by Sombath and Minh H. Pham, Resident Representative of the UN Development Program, but withdrawn prior to publication at Mr. Pham’s request.
Soon thereafter, UNDP joined with the Lao government in celebrating the 2012 International Human Rights Day themed “Inclusion and the Right to Participate in Public Affairs” on December 10th, but made no public mention of Sombath’s disappearance five days later. Mr. Pham recently received the Lao Cross of Friendship for his dedication while serving in Laos.