Raül Romeva i Rueda


Where is Sombath Somphone?


Urgency on the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphone in Laos
My speech in the European Parliament on 07.02.2013


On 15 December 2012, Sombath Somphone became victim of an enforced disappearance according to automatic camera footage, just after being stopped by police officers at Thadeua checkpoint in the Sisattanak district of Vientiane.

First his car was being driven away while he was discussing with the police officer in order to be later driven away in a truck himself.

Sombath Somphone is widely appreciated and well-known for his extensive work in the fields of sustainable and fair development, and access to land. 

In October 2012, Sombath Somphone, as part of the Lao National Organizing Committee, was one of the partners in organizing in Vientiane of the ” 9th Asia-Europe People’s Forum, ahead of the ASEM 9; and one of the key speakers of it,

During this Forum, farmers invited by him brought to the attention of participants the situation of Lao farmers being deprived of their land for the building of megaprojects, some of them co-financed by international finance institutions and corporations, including European corporations.
Many of us are deeply concerned about the whereabouts and safety of Sombath Somphone.
The length, and the lack of transparency of the investigation, is also a major problem.
Thus, we urge Lao authorities to inform Sombath Somphone’s family about the progress of the investigations, and call on the government to ensure that all steps are being taken to locate, rescue and return him safely to his family as soon as possible.
I appeal to the government of Laos and to the other ASEAN member states, to underline publicly the legality and the legitimacy of the work for sustainable development and social justice, in order to counter intimidation efforts and forced disappearances of activists.

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