Somchai Neelapaijit’s enforced disappearance remains a disheartening reality that we continue to remember. The Sombath Initiative is honored to commemorate his noble efforts in defending the rights of the victims of human rights violations. His endeavors, which challenged the interests and official power of the perpetrators of those violations, in turn made him the victim of human rights violations. His enforced disappearance was done to intimidate and induce fear in people and in the human rights community in particular. His disappearance should not be seen as a loss; neither has it happened in vain. His sacrifice has inspired and continues to inspire us and the wider public to build on and live up to his legacy, especially in eradicating enforced disappearance and in the struggle for genuine freedom and justice amidst the socially and structurally-entrenched widespread human rights violations and culture of impunity that continue to persist.
The Sombath Initiative reaffirms our solidarity with the Neelapaijit family and all the victims of enforced disappearance and their families. We proclaim our commitment to end this heinous crime against humanity and all forms of human rights violations. Our struggles shall endure until justice for the missing loved ones is served and human rights of all people are respected and protected.
(L-R) Rights activists Shui Meng Ng, Angkhana Neelapaijit, Pinnipa Preuksapan and Angkhana’s daughter Pratubjit Neelapaijit at a news conference in Bangkok, Thailand, December 19, 2017. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Alisa Tang
By Alisa Tang
BANGKOK, Dec 20 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The wives of three prominent Southeast Asian human rights campaigners who went missing after being detained by the authorities have united to urge Laos and Thailand to end impunity over forced disappearances.
All three women have become vocal critics of forced disappearances in a region where activists highlighting abuses over human, labour and land rights routinely face threats and violence. Some are gunned down, harassed through lawsuits, or simply “disappeared”.
“The biggest struggle is to get answers,” said Shui Meng Ng, whose husband Sombath Somphone, a Lao activist campaigning for rural development, went missing in December 2012.
The internationally acclaimed activist was last seen at a police checkpoint in the Lao capital Vientiane. (more…)
Shui-Meng Ng, left, Angkhana Neelapaijit and Pinnapa Preuksapan discuss details of their husbands’ disappearances, at a press conference in Bangkok, Dec. 19, 2016.
The wives of three men who disappeared under mysterious circumstances years ago – including a Thai lawyer who has been missing since March 2004 – appeared Monday before reporters in Bangkok to discuss their ongoing ordeals.
Angkhana Neelapaijit, the wife of lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit, joined Shui-Meng Ng and Pinnapa Preuksapan, the respective spouses of Laotian civil society leader Sombath Somphone and ethnic Karen activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, for a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand.
Sombath, a winner of Asia’s Magsaysay Award, disappeared in Laos in December 2012. Billy vanished in Thailand’s Petchburi province in April 2014. The three wives believe their husbands were kidnapped. (more…)