Laos: Three years on, no progress on case of Sombath Somphone’s disappearance

The Laos authorities must establish an independent commission to uncover the truth about the fate of civil society activist Sombath Somphone, Amnesty International said on the third anniversary of his disappearance.

Sombath Somphone’s disappearance remains a dark stain on Laos’ human rights record

Champa Patel, Amnesty International

In an open letter to the Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong, 49 Directors of Amnesty International national offices around the world are highlighting the near complete lack of progress in the case despite a catalogue of evidence.

“Sombath Somphone’s disappearance remains a dark stain on Laos’ human rights record. The Laos authorities’ claim that they are investigating this crime is a lie – they are simply dodging questions and trying to silence civil society’s attempts to raise the case,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Southeast Asia and Pacific Regional Office Director.

“Three years is too long for Sombath’s family and his many supporters to wait for the truth. The Laos authorities must once and for all set up an independent commission to genuinely investigate Sombath’s disappearance.”

More information

A full copy of the open letter is available here:

For background, see Amnesty International’s report Caught on camera: The enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone (13 June 2013)