Remembering Laotian community activist Sombath Somphone one year after his disappearance
Sombath Somphone, perhaps the Lao PDR’s most prominent community development activist and founder of the Participatory Development Training Center (PADETC) was last seen on the evening of Dec 15, 2012 on a road in Vientiane. According to footage from a CCTV camera, he was stopped in his own vehicle by police, left it, and minutes later got into another vehicle and was driven off into the darkness.
Since then, a veil of silence has descended on the disappearance of the man who in 2005 was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. The Lao government which has denied any involvement in his disappearance, has come under pressure for a credible explanation – which has not been forthcoming.