As 7th Anniversary of Lao Activist’s Disappearance Approaches, More Remain Missing

As households and rights groups prepare to mark the anniversary Sunday of notable Lao activist Sombath Somphone’s disappearance, the households of two other lost activists are lamenting the lack of responses from the communist authorities in their nearest and dearest.

Sombath Somphone, that vanished on Dec. 15, 2012 when authorities stopped him at his car at a checkpoint on the outskirts of the capital Vientiane, will be recalled in an event in Bangkok, Thailand following week.

“[We] will discuss the advancement of Sombath’s analysis on and will explore what to do next since it has been rather a long time with no advancement,” Soontaree Nakaviroj, an administrator of this Focus on the Global South NGO, told RFA’s Lao Service.

She added that there was no advancement from the Lao authorities, therefore human rights groups in Asia need to discuss why there’s not been any headway in the analysis and what actions must be taken to find the government to give information.

Before his abduction, Sombath had contested massive land prices negotiated by the authorities that had left tens of thousands of rural Lao villagers displaced with small paid in reimbursement. The prices sparked infrequent hot protests in Laos, where political language is closely controlled.

RFA contacted the office managing the analysis on Dec. 12, however, a police officer refused to give advice on the telephone.

“That is true I do not understand [well] and that I do not understand what the working class has done,” the officer stated.

“In case you would like to understand [more], you are able to come in using documentation,” the officer added.

A civil society organization (CSO) officer in Thailand who was able to operate with Sombath who declined to be named said CSOs perspective Sombath Somphone’s disappearance with regret and concern.

“The disappearance is regrettable because Sombath is a fantastic person who didn’t result in trouble for anyone,” said the source. “He did nothing wrong, and just wished to encourage sustainable growth so as to assist the poor”

The source said that it was hard to comprehend why seven decades have passed with no advice into Sombath’s whereabouts.

“My ideas are exactly the same as lots of organizations and people overseas,” the source said.

“Normally we listen and have assurance that a government would take responsibility to properly research and locate answers, but we’re still confused on why it has been seven decades with no replies,” said the source.

“Much like Sombath’s household, we expect there’ll be a response, we will not overlook Sombath if we’re inside or out of Laos.

Additional disappearances

Meanwhile, the relatives of two other lately vanished Lao activists upgraded RFA with the newest information in their instances.

Phetphouthon Philachane, a Lao migrant who dwelt in Thailand went missing November 14 while visiting family in Laos, is considered by friends and a few members of his household to have been abducted because of his participation in protests in the Lao embassy in Bangkok.

His sister told RFA that she had no clue what she needs to do at this stage.

“I really don’t know what to do to locate his whereabouts,” she explained.

I called my dad to find out if he’d the contact amount of our comparative with whom my brother was remaining November 13 and 14, however he stated he doesn’t understand anything,” she added.

“If [Phetphouthon] has gone into hiding, he definitely would have attempted to contact me since he’s an adult with awareness of obligation as well as a family person,” she explained.

“He was constantly concerned about our previous mother. Something should have occurred to him,” she explained.

Also, police in Thailand have made no advancement in the investigation to Od Sayavong’s disappearance.

The 34-year-old Lao democracy urge went missing from Thailand in August. The absence of progress is increasing concerns among human rights organizations tracking his or her case.

Od’s younger brother told RFA,”I haven’t heard anything new about my brother because he vanished. Thai authorities told me they’d call me whenever they have the info about himbut they haven’t contacted me.”

“I think my brother could have been detained or may have vanished. If he hasn’t been detained or killed, certainly he’d have [by now] come to meet me since he generally strikes me,” explained Od’s brother.

“I would prefer the relevant officials to urgently investigate his whereabouts since the surrounding regions nearby his home have lots of safety cameras, however, he fails to seem in any footage, which can be surprising.”

Reported and interpreted by RFA’s Lao Service. Written in English from Eugene Whong.

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