Gwangju Human Rights Award Committee has also selected Sombath Somphone of Laos who is the founder of the Participatory Development Training Center in Vientiane as a recipient of Special Award of 2015. Sombath Somphone has over more than 30 years worked vigorously and tirelessly empowering and training the youth of Laos, promoting quality education, and ecologically sustainable development especially in poor rural communities. Unfortunately, he was disappeared right in front of a police post on December 15, 2012. His abduction was recorded on the police surveillance camera (CCTV) and has been seen by many people all over the world.
The authorities of Laos have denied any involvement in his disappearance. The May 18 Memorial Foundation has decided to launch the campaign to urge the Lao Government Authorities to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation to find him and return him safely to his family and to the global community.
We hope this Special Award will contribute to raising awareness of his disappearance and finding his whereabouts and bringing him back to his family as soon as possible.