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PSPD    People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

  • Int. Solidarity
  • 2014.12.15
  • 1182
  • 첨부 1

Rights groups urge ASEAN to break silence on enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone

15 December 2014

 

On the second anniversary of the enforced disappearance of prominent Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, we, the undersigned regional and international organizations, firmly condemn the Lao government’s ongoing refusal to provide any information regarding Sombath’s fate or whereabouts.

 

The Lao government’s deliberate silence on Sombath is part of a strategy that aims at consigning to oblivion the heinous crime of enforced disappearance. Regrettably, all other ASEAN member states have remained conspicuously silent on the issue of Sombath’s disappearance. Our organizations believe that ASEAN member states, as well as the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), must break the silence on this matter.

 

Instead of invoking the principle of non-interference into one another’s internal affairs, ASEAN member states must act as responsible members of the international community and uphold the 10-nation bloc’s key tenets enshrined in the ASEAN Charter, which recognizes the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms among the bloc’s purposes and principles.

 

As a result, we, the undersigned organizations, call on ASEAN member states to raise the issue of Sombath’s disappearance with the Lao government in all bilateral and multilateral fora. We also urge AICHR to exercise its power to “obtain information from ASEAN member states on the promotion and protection of human rights” in order to shed light on the disappearance of Sombath.

 

Sombath was last seen on the evening of 15 December 2012 in Vientiane. Lao public surveillance CCTV footage revealed that police stopped Sombath’s car at a police post. Within minutes after being stopped, unknown individuals forced him into another vehicle and drove away. Analysis of the CCTV footage shows that Sombath was taken away in the presence of police officers who witnessed the abduction and failed to intervene - a fact that strongly suggests government complicity.

 

Sombath’s enforced disappearance is not an isolated incident. To this day, the whereabouts of nine people arbitrarily detained by Lao security forces in November 2009 in various locations across the country remain unknown. The nine had planned peaceful demonstrations calling for democracy and respect of human rights. The whereabouts of Somphone Khantisouk are also unknown. Somphone, the owner of an ecotourism guesthouse, was an outspoken critic of Chinese-sponsored agricultural projects that were damaging the environment in the northern province of Luang Namtha. He disappeared after uniformed men abducted him in January 2007.

 

Our organizations urge ASEAN member states and the AICHR to call on the Lao government to immediately conduct competent, impartial, effective, and thorough investigations into all cases of enforced disappearances, hold the perpetrators accountable, and provide reparations to the victims and their families.

 

Signed by:

Adventist Development and Relief Agency Lao PDR

Ain O Salish Kendra

Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma)

Amnesty International

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights

ASEAN SOGIE Caucus

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances

Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Asia-Pacific Solidarity Coalition

Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters

Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM)

Boat People SOS

Burma Partnership

Cambodian Civil Society Working Group on ASEAN

Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)

Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO)

Cambodian Volunteers for Society

Center for Human Rights and Development

China Labour Bulletin

Coalition to Abolish Modern-day Slavery in Asia

Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

East Timor and Indonesia Action Network

Equality Myanmar

Equitable Cambodia

FIDH - International Federation for Human Rights

Finnish Asiatic Society

Focus on the Global South

Forum for Democracy in Burma

Fresh Eyes – People to People Travel, UK

Gender and Development Initiative-Myanmar

Globe International

Hawaii Center for Human Rights Research & Action

Human Rights and Development Foundation

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Human Rights Watch

Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation

Indonesian Human Rights Monitor (IMPARSIAL)

INFORM Human Rights Documentation Centre

Initiatives for International Dialogue

Interfaith Youth Coalition on Aid in Myanmar

International Rivers

Judicial System Monitoring Programme

Justice and Peace Network of Myanmar

Justice for Peace Foundation

Justice for Women

Kachin Peace Network

Kachin Women Peace Network

Khmer Kampuchea Krom for Human Rights and Development Association

Korean House for International Solidarity

Lao Movement for Human Rights

Law and Society Trust

League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran

LICADHO Canada

LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights)

Madaripur Legal Aid Association

MARUAH

National Commission for Justice and Peace

Network for Democracy and Development

Odhikar

Olive Branch Human Rights Initiative

People’s Empowerment Foundation

People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy

People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights

People’s Watch

Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates

Potahar Organization for Development Advocacy

RTCC Research and Translation Consultancy Cluster

Sehjira Foundation for Persons with Disabilities

SILAKA

Social Action for Change

STAR Kampuchea

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Taiwan Association for Human Rights

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

Think Centre

Transnational Institute

United Sisterhood Alliance - Cambodia

Vietnam Committee on Human Rights

Women Peace Network Arakan

World Rainforest Movement

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