Dear Sombath…from Shui Meng (23)

My dearest Sombath,

It has been awhile since I last wrote you. Even though I have not been writing to you much, I have not forgotten you, nor have I given up on the struggle to get truth and justice for you.

Since March 2020, our world has been turned upside down by the global Covid-19 pandemic. Many countries have closed their borders to travel and many countries have also mandated lockdowns to control the spread of the virus.

Many human rights organizations and activists across the world have seen their international and regional meetings and conferences, and advocacy and mobilization activities greatly reduced or even halted.  This has caused a great blow to the continued momentum and growth of human rights movements and activities nationally, regionally and globally.

Following the cessation of most international face-to-face events, my participation in many of these human rights and enforced disappearances activities have also become largely reduced to only a few zoom meetings and webinars. Hence, I have become less active, and my voice has not been heard much at regional and international human rights meetings and conferences.  But this does not mean I have given up seeking truth and justice for you and for other victims of enforced disappearance.

I need to find ways to keep up my struggle and I know that one way is to keep reminding people that you are still missing and the facts of your unjust disappearance is still hidden by a wall of denial and lies.

My dearest Sombath, let me reassure you once more that as long as I still draw breathe, you will not be forgotten. Recently, I spoke at opening of the 13th AEPF Meeting through Zoom. I told those who attended the meeting that despite my disappointment of the lack of progress, and my anger at the injustice done to you, I also know that to give up on fighting for truth and justice is not an option. To give up is to give in to what the perpetrators most want; and to lose hope is to lose part of my dignity, my humanity, and my love for you.

So, my dearest Sombath, I promise you that I will soldier on against all odds and to continue my fight for truth and justice for you and to continue my plea for solidarity and support for the resolution of this inhuman and unjust crime.

The last week of May each year is dedicated as the International Week of the Disappeared to remind everyone that there are hundreds of thousands of people who have been unjustly disappeared and whose families are still waiting for their return. So I too want to use my letter to you to remind people who remember and love you that we too will not forget you. We too want you to come home to us.

Dearest Sombath, words cannot express how much I continue to miss you and pine for your return. Be well and stay healthy til the day we meet again.

Love you so much

Shui Meng

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