The NHRCT concerns over the case of Wanchalerm disappearance - Coordinating with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to find facts and suggesting the government to speed up legislation to prevent torture and enforced disappearance to safeguard the protection of people's rights
Mr. What Tingsamitr, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT), revealed about the news appeared in the media and various statements of concerning parties, claiming that, on 4 June 2020, Mr. Wanchalerm or "Tar" Satsaksit, a Thai political activist residing in the Kingdom of Cambodia was abducted into a vehicle by a group of people while shopping in front of his apartment in Phnom Penh and it is not clear what the facts are. However, the case is a matter of public interest and various organizations have campaigned for justice, and also called on the NHRCT to protect and promote human rights in the said case.
The Chairperson added that aside from the case of Mr. Wanchalerm, there are several other cases with the claims that Thai political activists living abroad are forced to disappear, including: 1) the case of Mr. Surachai Danwattananusorn, and the other two persons i.e. Mr. Chatcharn Buppawan and Mr. Kraidej Luelert, who were disappeared from their residence in the Lao People's Democratic Republic; 2) the case of Mr. Siam Theerawut, and the other two persons i.e. Mr. Chucheep Chiwasut and Mr. Kritsana Thapthai, who claimed to be arrested in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and sent back to Thailand but their whereabouts is unknown; however, the Crime Suppression Division confirmed that neither the police officers nor other officers have yet arrested Mr. Siam and brought him to the investigative officers. Moreover, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated with relevant departments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and was internally informed that there was no record of Mr. Siam and the other two entering into the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. In this regard, the NHRCT has rendered recommendations to relevant organizations.
Mr. What emphasized that the case of Wanchalerm disappearance is indeed related to the rights and freedoms of Thai people in foreign countries. However, the alleged case took place outside the Kingdom of Thailand, thus it is not legally within the jurisdiction of the NHRCT to carry out an examination. It should be undertaken by the government agency with direct duty and authority. Therefore, the NHRCT is requesting the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to consider assigning its agency to search for facts, information, or evidence to reveal the truth and make it known to the public. In doing so, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may consider coordinating with Mr. Wanchalerm's family to submit all information or evidence showing that there has been an enforced disappearance for further actions.
"In the past, the NHRCT recommended the government to enact the law on the prevention and suppression of torture and enforced disappearance in compliance with the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to which Thailand is a party and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED), which Thailand has already signed to expedite the ratification of the ICPPED. This is to provide guarantee for the protection of the rights of people under the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand and the international human rights obligations," the Chairperson concluded.
Office of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand