AEPF Calls on EU and UK for action, not just words

The Lao government’s continued silence and obfuscation of the facts around Sombath’s enforced disappearance have subjected his family to six years of fear and uncertainty over his fate and whereabouts, which remain unknown to this day.

European development partners have committed approximately USD 550 million in support of the implementation of the Government’s 8th NSEDP (2016-2020). This represents over 30 percent of all the ODA received by the Lao Government to date. Nearly all of the European ODA is provided in grants.

…it would appear that the ODA support given by the EU and other donors continues and that formally there have not been moves to suspend or change the flow of ODA in spite of human rights abuses by the Lao PDR.

…as a member of the multi-lateral institutions, including The European Union, that are donors to Laos, The United Kingdom should actively engage in, and if necessary initiate, discussions to suspend the flow of ODA to the Lao PDR.

Excerpts from letter to the Rt. Hon. Mark Field, Member of UK Parliament, from Andy Rutherford, member of International Organising Committee, Asia Europe People’s Forum

UK Minister of State speaks up for Sombath

UK FlagWe remain very concerned as to the whereabouts of Mr Sombath Somphone. We regularly raise his disappearance with the Lao government. Laos underwent its second UN Universal Periodic Review under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, earlier this year. The United Kingdom’s recommendation calling on the Lao government to conduct a thorough, transparent and impartial investigation into Mr Somphone’s disappearance was formally accepted by the Lao government. On 11 September, 1000 days since Mr Somphone’s disappearance, I wrote to the Lao Ambassador to the United Kingdom, to urge the Lao government to rapidly proceed with conducting an investigation. Next month, at the EU-Laos Human Rights Dialogue in Vientiane, the United Kingdom, along with our EU partners, will highlight the lack of progress in the investigation into Mr Somphone’s disappearance.

Hugo Swire, UK Minister of State on 28 October 2015