Something a bit different for this blog…… I recently spent some time working in Bangladesh running an advocacy training course, and met some people from Laos. They informed me of the disappearance of Sombath Somphone back in 2012. Sombath is a respected community leader in Laos. He has not been heard from since his disappearance.
I understand that his wife was shown video footage by the police of him being stopped by the police, and then being put into another vehicle before being driven away. The policemen who showed her this video have subsequently disappeared. The government in Laos has refused to engage on this issue, explain this video footage or take up international offers to analyse this video footage.
This case of Sombath has really affected me. How can a citizen of a country just disappear and the government of that country show no interest in his return? I would really interested to know if our Foreign and Commonwealth Office is aware of this case, and what representations our government had made to the government in Laos and to the ASEAN nations. I have written to my MP to ask these questions – could you do the same and stand up for a community leader, who had the courage to stand up and represent his community at huge personal cost?