December 15 2018 marks the 6th anniversary of the Disappearance of my husband, Sombath Somphone, a Lao educator and a respected community development worker. Sombath Somphone was also the winner of the 2005 Ramon Magsaysay Award, which is often referred to as the Asia Nobel Prize. Continue reading “The Enforced Disappearance of Sombath Somphone: A documentary”
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.
Five years – five long agonizing years – have passed since your abduction in front of the police post on Thadeua Road where you were so clearly seen on CCTV footages to have been stopped by the police, made to get out of your jeep, and taken away in a white truck.
Now 5 years on – I am still no nearer to getting any answer as to what happened to you. Instead, the wall of silence sealing off the truth to your abduction just became thicker inside Laos. But despite the silence and despite the fact that many officials inside Laos do not want to hear your name mentioned anywhere, I and your friends and colleagues continue to hold you dear in our hearts and minds. “We will never forget” is our promise to you.
So on 15th of December this year, we are once more gathered on the grounds of your beloved PADETC Office to hold a blessing ceremony for you. Nine monks chanted sutras to bless you wherever you are. More than 200 of your co-workers, friends and fellow partners of the development community and diplomatic community turned up to show their support and solidarity for you, and the work you have started through PADETC. Continue reading “Dear Sombath…from Shui Meng (14)”
Voice of America: 15 December 2017
Security camera footage at a checkpoint showed police officers stopping his Jeep. Sombath, a well-known civil society leader, is shown getting out of his vehicle. Moments later, a lone motorcyclist arrives, parks his bike, and drives away in the Jeep. Then an unmarked white pickup pulls up and Sombath gets in the truck, which drives away.
Activists say the police closed-circuit television shows Sombath being arrested at the police checkpoint. Shui-Meng has not heard from her husband since.
“Today, Sombath is still missing,” she told VOA’s Lao Service. “I have no choice, I cannot remain silent. I cannot let the … work of Sombath and his dreams and hope for building a better society in Laos” be forgotten. Continue reading “Activists Pressure Lao Government on Missing Civil Society Leader”
Five years ago, Sombath Somphone gave the following keynote speech at the Asia-Europe Peoples’ Forum.
How many donors, diplomats or civil society organisations in Laos will dare to share his words today?
Challenges for Poverty Reduction and Sustainable Development – A View from Laos
Sombath Somphone Founder and Advisor to PADETC
Asia-Europe People’s Forum (AEPF9) 16-19 October, 21012, Vientiane, Laos
Excellency Dr. Thongloun SISOULATH, Deputy Prime Minister of the Lao PDR; Respected friends and colleagues from Laos, Asia, and Europe;
Ladies and gentlemen…
What an honor and what a pleasure it is for me to be welcoming you all to our small country, a land of gentle people but with big hearts. I am especially honored to represent Laos at this Asia-Europe People’s Forum to address you today and to share with you some thoughts on how we can together work towards reducing poverty and building a more sustainable future for ourselves and for our children. Continue reading “Five years of silence…”
Monk’s chanting is not very interesting to the young people. But at the same time the young monks are very active and they want to do something. So I think linking these dynamic monks with young people is important so that the young people can learn about cultural and spiritual aspects though actually doing the work.
Sombath Somphone, Towards Global Transformation: Making Change Happen, at the 3rd International Conference on Gross National Happiness, November 2007, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand.
This website is being slowly upgraded, including the page on Sombath’s Work. Any additional links, materials, media, comments and/or corrections will be greatly appreciated.
Many would like to forget Sombath and his work, and return to the status quo. Please help prevent that by sending your contributions to [email protected]
Friends and colleagues of Sombath are also encouraged to write Letters to Sombath.
Finally, can anyone identify the year and occasion of this picture?
Sombath worked closely with Quaker Service Laos (QSL) during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He made significant contributions to their programs, including the Rice Integrated Farming Systems (RIFS) project.
A “History of Quaker Service Laos Development Work 1973-1999″ mentions the RIFS project, and how it evolved into The independent Participator Development Training Center (PADETC) .
While QSL staff wrote a plea to the Lao government soon after Sombath’s abduction, subsequent requests to contribute their thoughts about Sombath and his work have been unanswered.
Those who worked with Sombath are encouraged to share their experiences by writing a Letter to Sombath.
Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation: Manila, 31 August 2005
The honorable Chief Justice Hilario Davide, trustees of the Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation, distinguished guests, fellow awardees, ladies and gentlemen, good evening.