AICHR's Role

AICHR-300x236It’s the mindset of some AICHR members to protect the government rather than the human rights of the people in the region.

Seree Nonthasoot, Thai Representative to AICHR: Bangkok Post 04 July 2013

สมาชิกคณะกรรมาธิการระหว่างรัฐบาลอาเซียนว่าด้วยสิทธิมนุษยชนบางท่านมีความคิดในการคุ้มครองรัฐบาล มากกว่าการปกป้องสิทธิมนุษยชนของประชาชนในภูมิภาคนี้จริง

ดร.เสรี นนทสูติ ผู้แทนไทยในคณะกรรมาธิการระหว่างรัฐบาลอาเซียนว่าด้วยสิทธิมนุษยชน: Bangkok Post: 04 ก.ค. 2556

Greed and Happiness

When the west talks about happiness it’s individual sensory happiness, it’s only one sense at a time but if you have two or three senses together…wow…you feel really high (laughs). But here actually, you know, like we said earlier, it’s just doing mundane things…but sharing them with other people and being satisfied with them. If you get greedy you have to continue to be greedier and greedier to be happy–it never ends.

Sombath Somphone, from interview in Unhappy Laos


…According to the CCTV footage, at 6:00 pm the traffic police stopped the Jeep of Mr Sombath in order to check for driving license and car documents as normal procedures. Being stopped, Mr Sombath walked out from his car to the police to present documents. After the police had checked the documents they returned them to Mr Sombath and continued their duty of checking other cars. Then, a man came on a motorbike parked it near Sombath’s car and rushed to the police outpost direction

…About 10 minutes later, a pickup truck came with hazard lights flashing. The pickup truck stopped near the police outpost

…Following the preliminary assessment of the incidence from the CCTV footage, the authorities concerned viewed that, it may be possible Mr. Sombath has been kidnapped(Emphasis added)

Spokesman of the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in KPL News, 19 December 2012

…At 6 pm the traffic police stopped Mr Sombath’s jeep in order to check his driving licence and car documents as normal procedures.

Being stopped, Mr Sombath walked out from his car to present his documents to the police

…Then, a man came on a motorbike, parked it on the side road near Mr Sombath’s jeep and moved quickly in the police post direction...

…About 10 minutes later, a pickup truck came with hazard lights flashing and stopped near the police post. (Emphasis added)

Yong Chanthalangsy, Permanent Representative of the Lao PDR to the UN in Geneva, in Vientiane Times, 04 January 2013

…According to the footage, at 18:03 hours the traffic police conducted a regular random check for car documents, and among those checked cars there was a check on a Jeep resembled to the car reported in the incident. It was found that the driver walked out of the car and went to the area around the back of the Jeep.

After that a man on a motorbike came and parked it on the footpath near the Jeep and then walked into the direction where the owner of the Jeep walked to….

…About 8 minutes later, a pick up truck came and stopped at the roadside near where the Jeep had parked

…From the CCTV footage, it can not be verified that the person who drove the Jeep and the person who later drove the Jeep away was Mr Sombath Somphone(Emphasis added)

Phengsavanh Thipphavongxay, Deputy Director General, General Police Department, in Vientiane Times, 04 February 2013

"Answers are Needed"

I hope the Lao government would assume a more active role in finding out the truth of this particularly unwelcome event…

It does touch on the value of human rights. There are disappearances [when people go missing] and enforced disappearances [when people may have been seized by the state]….

You can’t have enforced disappearances – it’s not something we like in this part of the world.

Anand Panyarachun, former Thai Prime Minister and Magsaysay winner, in The Nation, 11 January 2013

I feel that answers are needed… The government has the responsibility to answer questions as to what has happened to him. The government of the Lao PDR is not really taking up this responsibility.

Jon Ungpakorn, former Thai Senator and Magsaysay winner, in The Nation, 11 January 2013

Education & Development

Sombath-012A sustainable education and development model should have a balance between the four pillars: economic development, environmental harmony, promotion and preservation of culture, and spiritual well-being…

Education and development in an ecological, holistic manner are interconnected, both are inter-dependent and supportive of each other.

Of course, at the base of the model is good governance, which promotes justice and fairness for everyone through the rule of law.

Sombath Somphone, in “Teaching Happiness,” interview in the Bangkok Post, 24 August 2012.


The European Parliament….

The European Parliament…Screen Shot 2013-02-01 at 22.53.08 PM

1. Expresses its deep concern about the disappearance, safety and well-being of Sombath Somphone;

2. Is concerned about the tardiness and lack of transparency of the investigation into the disappearance of Sombath Somphone; calls on the Lao authorities to undertake prompt, transparent and thorough investigations, in accordance with their obligations under international human rights law, and to ensure the immediate and safe return of Sombath Somphone to his family;

3. Calls on the HR/VP to closely monitor the Lao government’s investigations about the disappearance of Sombath Somphone; Continue reading “The European Parliament….”

Quotes on economic growth

“The national economy has seen continued growth at an average of 8.2 percent annually since  the introduction of the current five-year development plan in 2011.” Vientiane Times, 09 July 2013

“There are big gaps in development and the incomes between the people living in the towns compared to the rural areas.” Ms Pany Yathortou, President of Lao National Assembly, 09 July 2013

“Rural people are still living in poverty despite the country’s economy continuing to grow.” Dr. Souvanphen Souphanouvong, Member of Lao National Assembly Standing Committee, 10 July 2013

“The goal of development cannot hinge on just how well the GNP is advancing, but also on improvement in people’s well-being…” Sombath Somphone, 24 August 2012

Asean must improve its HR practices

The Nation: 01 July 2013

The China Post: 02 July 2013

For the past four years, AICHR has completely ignored violation of human rights in member countries. During the first year of AICHR, attempts were made by individual AICHR member to take up right violations such as the Maguindanao massacre. But it was a non-starter.

Disappearance of Lao activist, Sombath Somphone, in December last year was another case in point showing the AICHR’s lack of moral courage. After all, it came after the announcement of ASEAN Declaration of Human Rights one month before his kidnapping.

The entire article can be read by clicking on the blue links above.

Sombath: his ideas will not disappear

Sombath has been missing for 114 days, but his words, his ideas and his inspiration are still with us.

In 2012, Sombath was an adviser for a video called ‘Happy Laos’ that was shown at the closing session of the Asia Europe People’s Forum (AEPF).   Here is what he says in the film:

What are we developing for?  We develop because we want happiness, but we see happiness as material things. We develop to reach our material goals but actually that is not true happiness.

We do not deny the economy is important but it has to be balanced. The economy, society, environment and the human spirit… these four factors have to be balanced, and then we will find happiness.

Screen Shot 2013-04-08 at 20.14.16 PM

Click this link to watch the ‘Happy Laos’ video at Youtube.