“Sombath Somphone and Beyond” Project – The 2nd Episode

Tea Talk: Growing Peace Together

Friday 15 March 2013

10.30 Onward, In front of Laos Embassy

Soi Sahakarnpramun, Pracha-utit Rd, Wangthonglang, Bangkok

image00115 March 2013 marks 3 month anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone or “uncle Bath” of many young people in Laos, Mekong region and ASEAN. The respected Ramon Magsaysay award winner had dedicated his life to rural development and supporting youth groups by giving them the opportunity to learn. Beloved, respectful, kind-hearted and humble, Sombath is their role model as to his love for the world. The sharing and caring that Sombath shared with the young people was a part of the foundation of the growth of their own.

It has now been 3 months of unexplained disappearance of Sombath which occurred on 15 December 2012, despite the CCTV clip showing once and for all his being taken by a group of men after being stopped by a street police at a point on Tha-dua road in Vientiane municipality as evening fell. Seemingly, the answer to his fortune is in the wind.

We, Thai and Mekong Youth network, once again question this suspicious disappearance and request the Laos government to address it and, soon, bring him back to his family and us. We believe that, to end this human rights violation is to return peace to the Mekong region. We echo voices of the region’s people who call for sustainable development, harmony and peace.

On 15th day of every month from now, we will take action to remind ourselves as well as society of uncle Bath’s enforced disappearance. Wherever he is, we feel he is still with us and we will not keep quiet about him. We shall continue to work for the good of others, serving community and society of Mekong and ASEAN. We, the youth, will always connect our actions to empower the powerless. Our ideology, way of thinking, dream and spirit of love for peace will go on. And truth will prevail. We believe that peace has now grown in us. We will help each other to make it grow larger and stronger not only for the good of us but those of the coming generations.

“Sombath Somphone and Beyond” Project set out of our 5th February concert for peace in Thammasart University. This “Tea Talk” is the second episode. Its key objective is to create space to discuss about peace in the young people’s perspectives. Talk over tea is symbolic in our culture, when people exchange socio-political ideas. As for 15th March in front of the Laos Embassy, we will share with our guests nice tea and cakes, together with music and performance titled “Three Nots” (not know, not see, not understand or “Boh huu, Boh hen, Boh jak” in Laos language). We will invite the Laos ambassador to join us for the Tea Talk and will in the end submit our petition that urge investigation on Sombath case. We hope our friends, colleagues and concerned others will join us so that our attempt to stop human rights violation and our search for peace shall once again be realized.

More information please contact:

Jaruwan Pholrai (Netting) Tel 08 1072 2714 E-mail: [email protected]

Sakdinee Amasiri Tel 085212 198 E-mail  [email protected]

Fundraising for Sombath

A webpage has been created to raise funds to support the campaign to find Sombath Somphone.  Please contribute by visiting this page.

Donations will help pay for the following:Screen Shot 2013-02-07 at 10.19.47 AM

  •  a thorough and proper investigation of the case
  •  negotiations for Sombath’s return
  •  maintaining media attention (including printing campaign materials)
  •  rewards for information
  •  communication and organizational support


Sombath Somphone & Beyond: Human Rights Violation in the Mekong Region and Its Impacts on Mekong Youth

(A Thai PBS news report on this event is available here.)

Music for Peace and Mekong Youth Discussion 
Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 15.00-19.30pm 
Pridi Banomyong Park, Thammasart University (Main campus)

sombath_music for peace (2)It has been a month and a half since December 15, 2012 when Sombath Somphone, a renowned Laos civil society leader went missing. Even with an important evident from street’s CCTV where Sombath was last seen in Vientiane, the Laos capital showing that he was stopped by the traffic police and being taken by a group of men, there is still no clear explanation of what really happened to him and where he is. The whole world keeps asking the same question, “Where is Sombath?” to the Laos government and the movement to ask for the safe return of Sombath has become the global action.

Sombath Somphone has been one of the key supporters to youth network, both in Laos and Mekong region. The human Rights violation to Sombath is therefore consider a major destructive matter that weakens not only the human rights standard of Mekong and ASEAN region, but also the future of youth movement. Yet, the similar human rights violation has still going on in the Mekong region. According to a report of Justice for Peace Foundation, there are more than 200 citizens went missing in relate to the conflict in three southern provinces of Thailand.With and without the report to the eye of public, such violation also going on in other Mekong countries in China, Burma, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam in different forms.

The youth network believe that such violation to basic human’s right and humanity of people in our countries should be ended, and believe that everyone, especially the young generation, should take part in questioning and bringing significant change to create a more peaceful society for our better future.English Schedule_2-1

On February 5, 2013, Thailand’s youth groups, NGOs and academic alliances, together with Mekong youth network will co-organize the Music for Peace and Mekong Youth Discussion under title “Sombath Somphone& Beyond: Human Rights Violation in the Mekong Region and Its Impacts on Mekong Youth in Thammasart University (main campus). This event, combining between the youth discussion, music and exhibition by numbers of professional musicians and representative from Mekong youths,aims to bring the message of peace, love, and harmony among Mekong countries to the citizens of the region and to invigorate young Mekong peace-builders. The event also aims to collect the sign-on petition and messages that will be pass on to relevant groups for Sombath’s safely return. Let us work together to encourage our advocates, young and experienced, to overcome such fear and violence and create a real peaceful society for all.

For more information, please contact;

  • Ms. Jaruwan Supholrai, Thai Volunteer Service Foundation

      Tel: 08 1072 2714    Email: [email protected]

  • Ms.Saksinee Emasiri, Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University,

      Tel: 08 5212 1980 Email: [email protected]

Amnesty International calls for Action

Screen Shot 2013-01-19 at 8.59.36 AMAmnesty international has issued a statement that calls for everybody who is concerned about Sombath to write immediately in Lao, English or your own language:

  • Calling on the Lao authorities to undertake prompt, transparent and thorough investigations into the abduction and disappearance of Sombath Somphone, in accordance with their obligations under international human rights law;
  • Demanding that they give full information about the progress of the investigations to his family and others with a legitimate interest;
  • Urging them to ensure that all steps are being taken to locate, rescue and return him safely to his family as soon as possible.

The full statement from Amnesty International, with details of who to write to, can be downloaded by clicking this link.

Thousands of people are taking action

More than 1,700 people have signed the Avaaz petition and nearly 500 have ‘liked’ the Facebook page dedicated to finding Sombath.  Please visit our Get Involved page for these linksSombath-school-garden and other ideas about what you can do to help.

If you want to suggest other ways we can support the safe return of Sombath Somphone, please let us know through the address on our Contact page.

You can make a difference.