MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphome in Laos
5.2.2013 - (2013/2535(RSP))
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure
Barbara Lochbihler, Raül Romeva i Rueda, Rui Tavares on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0054/2013
European Parliament resolution on the enforced disappearance of Sombath Somphome in Laos
The European Parliament,
- having regard to the Universal Declaration oft Human Rights of 1948 ant the International Convenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) ratified by Laos in 2009
- having regard to the Declaration on the protection of all people against enforced disappearance, adopted by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 47/133 of December 18/1992, and having regard to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance to which Laos is a signatory
- having regard to the ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights
- having regard to the inauguration in 2009 of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)
- having regard to the ASEM 9 Vientiane Declaration on Strengthening Partnership for Peace and development (Vientiane, November 6/2012, and in particular its points 6 expressing "the common adherence of the parties to "the principles of democracy, rule of law, good governance, gender equality, promotion of social justice and human security, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, in accordance with the UN Charter and international law
- having regard to its previous resolutions on Laos, in particular those of November 15/2001, December 1/2005 and November 26/2009
- having regard to the letter of numerous European and national parliamentarians, and the declaration of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, asking the Lao authorities to deploy "efforts to investigate this case with the aim of ensuring the return of Sombath Somphone to his family"
- having regards to very numerous messages of social and human rights organisations from worldwide, requesting the quick liberation of Sombath Somphone
- having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure
A. whereas 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; whereas 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
B. whereas Sombath Somphone is widely appreciated and well-known for his extensive work in the fields of sustainable and fair development, and access to land, notably through the creation in 1996 of the "Training Center of participative Development" and has received in 2005 the "Ralib Magsaysay Award for Community leadership"
C. whereas 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,
D. whereas during this Forum, farmers invited by Sombath Somphone 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,
E. whereas the Lao authorities have denied arresting Sombath Somphone and being responsible for his disappearance
F. Whereas the Lao government has issued a statement on 19 December 2012 which claims that they are “seriously investigating” the matter, but have not provided any information as to possible steps they have undertaken to clarify Sombath Somphone's whereabouts, neither to his family nor to interested parties;
G. whereas violations of the right of expression and association are common in Laos, as well as violations of the rights of minorities,
1. expresses its deepest concern about the whereabouts and safety of Sombath Somphone
2. is concerned about the length and the lack of transparency of the investigation, and calls on the Lao authorities to inform Sombath Somphone's family about the progress of the investigations, and to notably provide answers to the question of the identity of the police officers who spoke with Sombath Somphone a few minutes before he disappeared, the owner of the car shown on the surveillance cameras with which Sombath Somphone was abducted or the driver of the motor bike who took away Sombath Somphone’s car;
3. calls on the government to ensure that all steps are being taken to locate, rescue and return Sombath Somphone safely to his family as soon as possible
4. calls on the ASEAN Human rights Commission to establish an inquiry Committee to investigate the events surrounding the forced disappearance of Sombath Somphone, in view of his prominent role in the "Asia-Europe People's Summit"
5. appeals 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; calls on Laos to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
6. calls on the government of Laos to effectively respect the right to freedom of expression and association, and the right of minorities, according to the international law
7. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Parliament and Government of Laos, the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the parliaments and governments of the Member States, the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR).