US challenges Laos over missing activist

 

US challenges Laos over missing activist

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/03/25/us-challenges-laos-over-missing-activist/

Published March 25, 2013 / Associated Press

 

The U.S. is challenging Laos over the disappearance of a prominent social activist that has put a rare spotlight on an authoritarian nation’s murky governance and human rights record.

In a statement, Secretary of State John Kerry said the unexplained disappearance of Sombath Somphone 100 days ago and Laos’ failure to provide significant information about his case is raising questions about the government’s commitment to the rule of law and engaging responsibly with the world.

Laos retains a one-party political system and is intolerant of dissent. Sombath’s work in promoting social development was not overtly political.

The State Department says it’s monitoring the case of former ethnic Hmong rebel leader Moua Toua Ther, who reportedly is facing deportation from Thailand. Activists fear he’d face persecution in Laos.

 

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100 Days Since the Disappearance of Lao Civil Society Leader Sombath Somphone

100 Days Since the Disappearance of Lao Civil Society Leader Sombath Somphone.

Click on the link to get more news and video from original source:  http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/03/206599.htm

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 24, 2013

March 25th marks the 100th day since the disappearance of Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, a respected individual known for his work with non-governmental organizations, the government, and the international community. Video footage suggests that Mr. Sombath may have been abducted from a police checkpoint in the capital city of Vientiane. The United States shares the international community’s serious concerns about Mr. Sombath’s safety and well-being. We call on the Lao government to do everything in its power to account for his disappearance without further delay. We are concerned at the lack of significant information we have received from the Lao government about Mr. Sombath’s case, despite our offers to assist with the investigation and numerous expressions of concern about Mr. Sombath’s welfare.

Mr. Sombath’s disappearance resurrects memories of an earlier era when unexplained disappearances were common. We note that Laos has taken steps in recent years to become a responsible partner in the community of nations, including its accession to the World Trade Organization and its hosting of the Asia-Europe Summit Meeting last November. Regrettably, the continuing, unexplained disappearance of Mr. Sombath, a widely respected and inspiring Lao citizen who has worked for the greater benefit of all of his countrymen, raises questions about the Lao government’s commitment to the rule of law and to engage responsibly with the world.

We join with countless organizations, governments, journalists and concerned citizens around the world in demanding answers to Mr. Sombath’s disappearance and urging his immediate return home.

PRN: 2013/0338

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