On Tuesday, 14 December 2021, a book launch and discussion of “Silencing of a Laotian Son – the Life, Work and Enforced Disappearance of Sombath Somphone” was held at The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand.

Silencing of a Laotian Son – the Life, Work and Enforced Disappearance of Sombath Somphone is a thoughtful portrayal of Somphone’s 30-year journey to improve the lives of rural communities in Laos, and his subsequent enforced disappearance on December 15, 2012. It tells of how Sombath’s ground-breaking community and youth development work has earned him widespread recognition as Laos’ leading development specialist. It also documents the Lao authorities’ denial of state involvement of Sombath’s disappearance and his wife’s tireless and agonizing struggle to rally international support for his safe return since his disappearance.


  • Cynthia Veliko, head of the UN High Commission for Human Rights in Bangkok.
  • Sulak Sivaraksa, a friend and mentor of Somabath’s for over 30 years who greatly influenced his work on education and Engaged Buddhism.
  • Angkhana Neelapaijit, wife of famous human rights lawyer Dr. Somchai Neelapaijit who was disappeared in 2004. She founded Justice for Peace to support victims of enforced disappearances and to advocate for improved state laws against their perpetration.
  • Shui Meng Ng, Sombath’s wife and author of the book. Se has continued tirelessly to seek truth and justice for her husband.

The event was moderated by Phil Robertson, deputy director of Asia, Human Rights Watch.

You can watch the recording of the event on Sombathdotorg YouTube channel, below:

For more information on the event, you can also visit the event webpage at sombathdotorg.