Today marks the fifth anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone, a staunch Lao civil society leader and community development activist who advocated for rural community-based development, especially among the youth. On the fateful evening of December 15, 2012, Sombath was abducted by policemen in Vientiane. Evidence obtained of Sombath’s abduction was caught on CCTV, where it showed that he was stopped and taken away on a pickup truck in front of the police station. Laotian authorities immediately denied any involvement in his abduction, which speaks volumes of the palpable culture of impunity in the country that is felt significantly to this day.
THE ASIAN FEDERATION AGAINST INVOLUNTARY DISAPPEARANCES
Paris, 6 December 2017. The Lao Movement for Human Rights wishes success to the 6th Congress of The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances.
Enforced disappearance is a violent and unacceptable violation to our basic rights and an infringement of international law. It is an odious crime that deeply and painfully affects the victim’s close ones who desperately seek information and find themselves in front of walls of denial, silence and indifference from the authorities. Too often, it involves the acquiescence or complicity of state officials and instills fear within civil society and human rights community in the country.
“Strengthening AFAD in its Second Decade of Struggle Towards a More Effective and Enduring Response to Enforced Disappearances in Asia”
In faith and solidarity, we, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, extend our greeting to Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and all its member organizations.
On this day, 69 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly at its third session, which was held at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. The adoption of this historic document marked a big leap in the struggle to defend and uphold human rights everywhere in the world.