Laos: ICJ marks 6th year anniversary of disappearance of Sombath Somphone

On 12 December 2018, the ICJ co-organized a panel discussion at Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC) in Thailand marking the 6th anniversary of the evident enforced disappearance of prominent Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone.

The panel discussion was co-organized with the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) and Forum Asia.

On 15 December 2012, Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) footage taken by police cameras near a police checkpoint in Vientiane, Lao PDR, appeared to show that Sombath Somphone was abducted at the checkpoint by, or with the consent or acquiescence of, agents of the State. He has not been seen since.

Six years after his abduction, Laotian authorities have repeatedly failed to provide meaningful information as to his fate or whereabouts, or conduct an independent, impartial and effective investigation towards determining his fate. The last police report on his case was issued on 8 June 2013.

In light of the 6th anniversary, the panel discussion considered what further steps could be taken to continue advocacy on his case and spoke about regional implications and responses.

The panelists were:

  • Ng Shui-Meng, Wife of Sombath Somphone;
  • Edmund Bon, Lawyer, Malaysia’s Representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights;
  • Premrudee Daoroung, Project SEVANA’s South-East Asia Coordinator;
  • Charles Santiago, Malaysian Member of Parliament.

The panel was moderated by the Andrea Giorgetta from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH).

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