Target: Dr. Chaleuan Yapaoher, Laos Minister of Justice
Goal: Attain the release of human rights activist from prison in Laos
The government of Laos should immediately investigate the forced disappearance, or kidnapping, of activist Sombath Somphone. His wife last saw him while they were driving home in separate vehicles in the city of Vientiane. Mrs. Somphone lost sight of the vehicle her husband was driving and has not seen him since.
Security footage captured of the incident shows Lao security forces taking Mr. Somphone into custody at a roadside police station. His wife reported him missing the next day to the police. Human rights organizations fear that Mr. Somphone may be subjected to torture and other mistreatment while in the hands of Lao security forces. The government has confirmed that the video footage is authentic but has claimed that personal or business rivals were responsible for the kidnapping.
Sombath Somphone is the founder of the Participatory Development Training Centre in Laos and is an authority in the field of education and development in Asia. The reasons for his disappearance are unknown as no one in the government or elsewhere have discussed the motives behind the enforced disappearance. The Lao government must immediately reveal the location of Sombath Somphone and release him unconditionally if he is not to be charged with an internationally recognized offense. Sign this petition and demand the release of activist Sombath Somphone from forced disappearance.
Dear Dr. Chaleuan Yapaoher,
The Lao government needs to acknowledge the forced disappearance of Sombath Somphone and release him unconditionally. If the government wants to continue with its story that Mr. Somphone was kidnapped, I ask that an impartial investigation be established to discover his location and ensure his welfare.
The disappearance of this prominent social activist and leader has caused a climate of fear in your country. It is has also shown to the international community that Laos is not interested in protecting basic human rights.
Lao authorities should do all they can to end the policy of forced disappearances and kidnappings in their country. By becoming party to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, Laos can show the international community that it is moving forward on human rights issues.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Exeter University.