The Sombath Symposium is part of a series of events under the umbrella theme of “We Shall Not Forget” from December 2 to December 15, the day that will mark ten years since Sombath was disappeared. The events seek to commemorate Sombath’s legacy, to demand justice for Sombath and his family, and to call for an end to enforced disappearance and persecution of people and communities who advocate for justice, sustainability, human rights and peace.
Note: A video recording of this event is available here, and a copy of Shui Meng’s remarks here.
FCCT clubhouse, Bangkok, Thailand and online
Tuesday, 14 December, 10am
This Silencing of a Laotian Son – the Life, Work and Enforced Disapppeance of Sombath Somphone is a thoughtful portrayal of Sombath Somphone’s 30-year life journey to improve the lives of rural communities in Laos, and his subsequent enforced disappearance on December 15 2012. It tells of how Sombath’s ground-breaking community and youth development work has earned him widespread recognition as Laos leading development specialist. It also documents the Lao authorities’ denial of state involvement of Sombath’s disappearance and his wife’s tireless and agonizing struggle to rally international support for his safe return since his disappearance.
This event brings together a panel of well-known speakers to launch this important book.
Ajaan Sulak Sivaraksa, a friend and mentor of Sombath for over 30 years and has greatly influenced Sombath’s work on Education and Engaged Buddhism.
Ms Cynthia Veliko, Head of the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights based in Bangkok. Her organization continues to champion the enhancement of human rights in the region.
Ms Angkhana Neelapaijit is the wife of the famous human rights lawyer, Dr Somchai Neelapaijit who was disappeared in 2004, and she is the founder of Justice for Peace, an organization founded to support victims of Enforced Disappearance and to advocate for improved state laws against the perpetration of Enforced Disappearances.
Shui Meng Ng is the wife and author of the book. She has continued tirelessly to seek truth and justice for her husband Sombath Somphone.
Moderator Phil Robertson, deputy director for Asia, Human Rights Watch
To view online: https://www.facebook.com/FCCThailand/
This is the second Sombath Somphone Public Lecture. The first lecture was held in 2018. It was presented by Seng Raw Lahpai, Myanmar, Founder of Metta Development Foundation and recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
The purpose of the annual lecture is to enliven our remembrance of Sombath Somphone not only as a victim of forced disappearance but primarily as a community leader who stood for an important mission in society. By inviting persons and organisations who are engaged in similar movements and aspirations in various countries and contexts, we express our solidarity and international recognition of the need to protect the freedom of change agents to fulfill their visionary vocations.
Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone disappeared on the evening of 15 December 2012, after being stopped at a police checkpoint on a busy street of Vientiane, Laos. Footage from a CCTV camera near the police checkpoint showed that unknown individuals forced Sombath into another vehicle and drove away in the presence of police officers. Sombath has never been seen again. His fate or whereabouts remain unknown to this day.
Six years after Sombath Somphone’s disappearance, what has been done to safely return Sombath? What are the regional implications of his disappearance? What are the next steps?
A panel of four distinguished speakers will answer these questions and provide an update on the quest for truth and justice for Sombath Somphone’s disappearance.
Ms. Shui-Meng Ng: Spouse of Sombath Somphone
Mr. Edmund Bon: Malaysia’ s representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights
Ms. Premrudee Daoroung: Project SEVANA South-East Asia Coordinator
Mr. Charles Santiago: Malaysian Member of Parliament (via Skype)
Moderated by FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)
This year marks 6th year anniversary of PADETC fair. The theme this year is to celebrate the work and passion of Mr. Sombath: “Promoting Ecological Sustainability: Towards a more liveable Laos for all.”
There will be a Buddhist ceremony for blessing starting on the evening of December 13th. On the 14th there will be Buddhist prayer in the morning and a booth display from PADETC’s former learning centers at the former PADETC office.
The second Sombath Symposium was held on November 24-25 in Bangkok, Thailand. Organised by the Chulalongkorn University Social Research Institute and Focus on the Global South, participants from ten countries and four continents discussed the impact of the predominant model of economic development on human rights, as well as how various groups and movements use laws and mechanisms to protect and preserve their rights and livelihoods. Continue reading “Sombath Symposium on Development and Human Rights”
We should be reminded that while concerns [regarding Sombath’s dissappearance) continue to be raised in the confines of the Universal Periodic Review and similar human rights dialogues, the policies and programmes of governments, donors, regional development banks and development agencies remain largely unaltered.
People’s Agenda for ASEM Parliamentarians
Final Declaration from The Asia Europe People’s Forum 12, Ghent, Belgium 1st October 2018
The People’s Agenda for ASEM Parliamentarians is an expression of the visions and demands of over 425 women and men who are citizens from diverse backgrounds, representing people’sorganisations from over 48 countries across Asia and Europe joined together to work for a Just, Equal and Inclusive Asia and Europe. We met in the Asia Europe People’s Forum12 in Ghent, Belgium between 29th September and 1st October 2018 ahead of ASEM12.
We are linked and brought together through the Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF). The AEPF is a strategic civil society gathering of Asian and European social movements, non-governmental organisations and campaign networks that are confronting poverty and inequality and working for social, economic and climate justice.
We are committed to promoting, consolidating and strengthening engagement with ASEM governments’ leaders, parliamentarians and related regional bodies and enabling people’svoices to be shared and heard.
We are committed to working in constructive ways with the governments who are members of ASEM to implement people-centred responses to the current crises in an effective and responsible manner.
We believe that priority must be given to poor, excluded and marginalised people and more democratic and accountable institutions must be in place to assure that processes and measures will lead to a just, equal, inclusive and sustainable Asia and Europe based on respect for gender equality and the promotion and protection of human, economic and socio-cultural rights, environmental security and the protection of our Commons.