Parliamentarians Request for the Urgent Investigation Into the Disappearance of Mr. Sombath Somphone

Members of Parliament from Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Germany and Spain signed a petition calling for the urgent investigation of teh disappearance of Mr. Sombath Samphone. Mr. Sombath Samphone is a prominent human rights activis and human rights leader from Laos. On the evening of 15 December 2012 Sombath was abducted in Vientiane while driving home. CCTV footage shows that he was stopped by police and then taken away in a pickup truck.

Both Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have officially stated that they believe Sombath has been the target of an “enforced disappearance” — defined under international law as the arrest or detention of a person by state officials or their agents followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty, or toreveal the person’s fate or whereabouts.

Below is the text of the Parliamentarians’ Petition:


19th December 2012


Re:  Request urgent investigation into the disappearance of Mr. Sombath Somphone

We, members of parliament across  Asia and Europe, write to you deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of Mr. Sombath Somphone one of the most prominent Lao co-organizers of the Asia Europe People’s Forum 9, the founder and former Director of PADETC  and one of the most respected and influential voices for sustainable people-centred and just economic and social development in Laos as well as in Asia.

Mr. Sombath Somphone has been missing since about 5 pm on Saturday December 15th 2012.

His wife and colleagues last saw Mr. Sombath Somphone on December 15 at 5 pm when he left the PADETC office in Vientiane to go home.  He left the office in his own car; his wife was in another car.  He did not reach home and his family has had no news from or about him since then.

We are concerned about his safety, his state of health and his wellbeing.

We are aware that the International Organising Committee of the Asia Europe People’s Forum has worked intensively with Mr. Sombath Somphone over the last year. His contribution to the successful Asia Europe People’s Forum 9 in Vientiane on the 16-19 October was extremely significant, widely recognized and deeply respected.

In addition he is a highly respected educationalist, inspiration for sustainable development and a recipient of the prestigious international Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership in 2005.  He has dedicated his life to sustainable development and poverty reduction in the Lao PDR, and has contributed positively to numerous international processes, including the AEPF9.

Mr. Sombath is an inspiration to development practitioners all over the world.

We are deeply concerned for Mr. Sombath’s safety and well-being and his disappearance is cause for great alarm.

We urge the Lao Government to immediately and urgently initiate an investigation into Mr. Sombath’s disappearance.  And, we call on the government to undertake all actions necessary to ensure his immediate release.

Yours sincerely,

Son Chay (Party Whip)
Sam Rainsy Party (SRP)

Helmut Scholz (MEP)
Die Linke
European United Left /Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL), European Parliament
Annette Groth  (Human Rights Spokesperson of the Parliamentary Group)
Heike Hänsel

M. Hanif Dhakiri (Fraction Leader)
Nation Awakening Party (PKB)
Budiman Sudjatmiko
Gedung DPR/MPR

Chong Chieng Jen
Democratic Action Party
Tian Chua
Parti Keadilan Rakyat
Teo Nie Ching
Democratic Action Party
Ngeh Koo Ham
Democratic Action Party
M Manoraharan
Democratic Action Party
Tony Pua
Democratic Action Party
Charles Santiago
Democratic Action Party
Ramakrishan Suppiah
Democratic Action Party
Liew Chin Tong
Democratic Action Party

Walden Bello
Teddy- Brawner Baguilat
Liberal Party
Arlene Bag-ao
Jorge Banal
Liberal Party
Bernadette Herrera-Dy
Bagong Henerasyon
Lorenzo Tanada III
Liberal Party

Laia Ortiz Castellví  (Portavoz de la Comisión de Cooperación Internacional para el Desarrollo)
G.P. La Izquierda Plural (GIP)

Copy Furnished:

Vice Minister Bounkeut Sangsomak (;
Director Khamphao Ernthavanh, Institute of Foreign Affairs  (
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan (
Ambassador David Lipman, Official EU Representative