10:30am-12pm, Thursday, December 11, 2014

Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (map)

On December 15, 2012, leading rural development practitioner, grass-roots educator, and Magsaysay award laureate Sombath Somphone was stopped at a roadblock by Vientiane police while on his way home to have dinner with his wife, Shui-Meng Ng. Video footage from a police CCTV camera showed him enter with police, and later exit and be taken away in another car. Since that day, the Lao government has consistently denied knowing where he is – despite clear indications that government officials were involved in the enforced disappearance of Sombath. Despite repeated high profile efforts by Sombath’s family and friends around the region and the world, and high level interventions by various governments with top-level Lao PDR government officials, there has been no progress in investigations to find out what happened to Sombath.

Approaching the second anniversary of his disappearance, a group of legislators, civil society leaders, and activists demanding to know “Where is Sombath?” are holding a press conference to launch The Sombath Initiative, an international campaign to intensify efforts to demand justice and accountability for Sombath. Philippines Congressman Walden Bello will be joined by Sombath’s wife, Shui-Meng, to explain this new initiative and update the latest information on efforts to find Sombath.

Sam Zarifi, the regional head of the International Commission of Jurists, will also release a report written by international investigation experts, pointing out issues and areas that need thorough investigation that the Lao authorities have failed to do, and making recommendations for next steps urgently needed in the investigation.


Shui-Meng Ng, wife of Sombath Somphone

Congressman Walden Bello, Akbayan Party, and founder of Focus on the Global South

Sam Zarifi, Director for the Asia-Pacific, International Commission of Jurists


FCCT: 02-652-0580 / Focus on the Global South: 0982742418 [email protected]