The United States remains deeply concerned over the fate of Sombath Somphone, one of the Lao Peopleâ€™s Democratic Republicâ€™s most respected civil society figures, on the one-year anniversary of his abduction.
Sombath was abducted on the evening of December 15, 2012, from a Lao police checkpoint in Vientiane. This deplorable event was recorded on Lao Government surveillance cameras.
Our thoughts are with Sombathâ€™s family, friends, and the countless others in the international community who have been inspired by Sombathâ€™s exemplary leadership and devotion to his country.
We welcome the recent statement by Lao President Choummaly Sayasone that the Lao Government is very concerned about Sombathâ€™s disappearance and would continue its investigation and take all measures necessary to resolve the case. We look forward to learning the results of a full, thorough, and transparent investigation.
The United States values its partnership with Laos on a wide range of issues â€“ including unexploded ordnance removal, health, education, combating trafficking in persons, environment, justice reform, counternarcotics, trade, and the search for our missing in action â€“ and we wish to work constructively with Laos to protect human rights and promote the rule of law.
Laos has taken steps in recent years to become a responsible partner in the community of nations. Sombathâ€™s abduction threatens to undermine those efforts.
We call on the government to take all actions possible to ensure his safe return to his family.