Former Thai prime minister Anand Panyarachun has appealed to the Lao government to do more to locate the missing activist Sombath Somphone, who disappeared in Vientiane nearly a month ago.
Anand, who attended the launch of a film at the Bangkok Arts Centre on Thursday evening, said he didn’t want to debate the circumstances of what occurred to Sombath – who exiles claim was abducted by government officials after being stopped at a police checkpoint in the capital.
But he urged Vientiane to do more to investigate, saying the 60-year-old social activist was a “very good man”.
Speaking during a debate on reconciliation televised by Thai PBS after the film showing, Anand said the disappearance of Sombath was bad for the region.
“I hope the Lao government would assume a more active role in finding out the truth of this particularly unwelcome event,” he said.
“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].
My uncle, Mr. Sombath Somphone, has been missing since December 15th 2012 in Vientiane, Laos. Till now, our family still haven’t got any news about where he is, who has him, why he was taken (kidnapped?), how can we get him back. So depressed and so stressful for our family and all the people who know my uncle so well. We don’t know what to do.
There’s rumor that many people have been told not to talk about him. Many people are even scared to contact with our family. Many people have told that this is very dangerous case. If you don’t know my uncle well, you will believe in that. Repectfully, to those who believe in that, for the entire life of me and my family and friends, we don’t see any thing that he has done wrong to any body. He’s just a normal person who cares so much about the future of his own country and the lives of the next generation. He have been working so hard in his entire life not to gain fame, but with a truly caring heart to help our country as much as he can do. What other people around the world said about him recently is the evident. We cannot control or force anyone to say that’s he’s good or bad. All his works since the past and the respect from people around the world have already shown us all.
If anyone know what he has done wrong. Please, please let us know. Continue reading “An appeal from Sombath’s niece”
The disappearance of Sombath Somphone was immediately followed by statements of concern from around the world. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Parliamentarians from Asia and Europe, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, International NGOs – and many others – have urged the Lao Government to undertake all actions necessary to ensure the safe release of this resepected figure.
Copies of various statements can be downloaded from this page