A pre-session for the Universal Periodic Review of the Lao PDR (scheduled for January, 2015) was held on 03 December in Geneva. While many international human rights organisations did not attend the session, a briefing paper summarising UPR submissions from some groups was compiled.
The summary includes the following recommendations:
- Immediately undertake a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation, consistent with international standards, into the apparent enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone, publicly release original images of the closed circuit television (CCTV) video of Sombath’s disappearance, and accept offers from foreign experts to assist in examining evidence, including the CCTV footage.
- Implement the commitments made during the 2010 UPR, including by becoming a party to the ICPPED and incorporating all provisions of the various international human rights treaties to which the Lao PDR is a party.
- Amend its Penal Law to provide for criminal liability for all acts of enforced disappearance and corresponding penalties accounting for the extreme seriousness of these acts.
- Allow Ng Shui Meng, Sombath Somphone’s wife, to have access to files and findings of the investigation and other information to which she is entitled.
- Provide Ng Shui Meng with access to an effective remedy and reparation for the enforced disappearance of her husband.
- Undertake a thorough, impartial, and effective investigation into all allegations of enforced disappearances, including those related to the nine activists arrested on 2 November 2009 in connection with planned peaceful demonstrations calling for democracy, justice, and respect of their land rights.