International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance

International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance: Human Rights Defenders & the Disappeared Justice

Co-organized by: Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA), the Esaan Land Reform, Amnesty International Thailand, and United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commission South-East Asia Regional Office

In the absence of efficient mechanisms for the protection of human rights defenders in Thailand, the cases of enforced disappearances ought to be addressed fairly and immediately. We, the organizers, would like to take this opportunity to commemorate and commend those who fearlessly stood up and defended the rights of others, but are no longer with us. Their legacy and engagement will continue to inspire all of us.

On the occasion of International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance, which falls on August 30 each year, we wish to reaffirm the significance of the government’s role in promoting and protecting the people’s human rights in compliance with the international standards. In order to find sustainable solutions, this event is also set to provide the possibility for collaboration among all sectors working with the issues on human rights

Time and Location

Wednesday, 30th of August 2017 at 13.00 – 17.00 h, the Student Christian Center, Phayathai Rd, Thanon Phetchaburi, Ratchathewi, Bangkok

13.00 – 13.30 Registration
13.30 – 13.45 Welcoming remarks by representative of the OHCHR
13.45 – 14.30 ‘Den Kamlae and Forensic Evidence in the Cases of Enforced Disappearance’ by Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunan and the community representative Oranuch Phonpinyo
14.30 – 15.00 ‘The Path of Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearances Act B.E. …’ by representative of the Ministry of Justice
15.00 – 16.00 A panel discussion on the topic of ‘Enforced Disappearance:

It Happens Everywhere, and the Limited Prosecution Resources under Vague Legislations’ by representative of HRLA, Ankana Neelapaijit and Pinnapha Prueksapan
The Jurisdiction of the Department of Special Investigation and Cases of Enforced Disappearance by representative of the Department of Special Investigation
The Jurisdiction of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand and Human Rights Defenders by Dr. Niran Pitakwatchara Commissioner of the 2nd batch of NHRC

16.00 – 16.30 Q & A
16.45 The organizers read the joint statement on the occasion of International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance

NOTE: Thai-English translation will be provided throughout the event

Who will choose Lao ACSC/APF participants?

While the Lao PDR was not able to host the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ASEAN People’s Forum last year, applications for participants from Laos to this year’s event in Manila are open.

Criteria include (unofficial English translation):

  1. ​ເປັນພົນລະເມືອງລາວທີ່ມາຈາກອົງການຈັດຕັ້ງຕ່າງໆ, ສະມາຄົມ ແລະ ມຸນນິທິ​ ທີ່ມີ​ຄວາມສົນໃຈກ່ຽວກັບວຽກງານພາກປະຊາຊົນ​ອາຊຽນ. Lao citizen from various organisations (associations and foundations) with an interest in ASEAN civil society work.
  2. ເປັນຜູ້ທີ່ມີຄວາມສາມາດໃນການສື່ສານ ແລະ ເຂົ້າໃຈພາສາອັງກິດດີສົມຄວນ. Reasonably able to communicate in and understand English.
  3. ເປັນຜູ້ທີ່ມີຄວາມເຂົ້າໃຈດີສົມຄວນ​ກ່ຽວກັບວຽກງານ​ຂອງອົງການຈັດຕັ້ງທາງສັງຄົມ ແລະ ວຽກງານເວທີ​ພາກປະຊາຊົນ​ອາຊຽນ. Appropriate knowledge of the work of social-sector organisations and ASEAN fora.
  4. ຜູ້ທີ່ມີປະສົບການຜ່ານຈາກກອງປະຊຸມ​ເວທີພາກປະຊາຊົນ​ອາຊຽນ ແລະ ເຂົ້າຮ່ວມກິດຈະກຳ​ພາກປະຊາຊົນ​ອາຊຽນ ຫລື ຢູຣົບ ແມ່ນຈະໄດ້ຮັບພິຈາລະນາພິເສດ. Those with past experience at the ACSC/APF and attendance at activities for ASEAN or European forums will be give special consideration.
  5. ເປັນຜູ້ທີ່ມີ​ເວລາເພື່ອເຂົ້າຮ່ວມ ແລະ ປະກອບສ່ວນເຂົ້າກິດຈະກຳຕ່າງໆຢູ່ພາຍໃນ ແລະວຽກ​ງານພາກປະຊາຊົນ​ອາຊຽນຢ່າງຫ້າວຫັນ. Sufficient time to attend and activitely participate in various internal and ASEAN civil society actvities.
  6. ເປັນຜູ້ທີ່ມີຄວາມສາມາດກຸ້ມຕົນເອງໃນການໃຊ້ຈ່າຍເຂົ້າຮ່ວມກອງປະຊຸມເວທີ​ພາກປະຊາຊົນ​ອາຊຽນ​ຍິ່ງເປັນການດີ. Abilty to pay own costs for attending the ACSC/APF.

Applicants can send a letter of interest to assi…@lao-cso-network.org  before 23 June.

Participants will be selected by the APF Committee, although the makeup of this committee is not specified.

Apparently, members of Lao civil society who are not selected will not be allowed to attend.

Solidarity Message to Somchai Neelapaijit’s family

Somchai Neelapaijit’s enforced disappearance remains a disheartening reality that we continue to remember. The Sombath Initiative is honored to commemorate his noble efforts in defending the rights of the victims of human rights violations. His endeavors, which challenged the interests and official power of the perpetrators of those violations, in turn made him the victim of human rights violations. His enforced disappearance was done to intimidate and induce fear in people and in the human rights community in particular. His disappearance should not be seen as a loss; neither has it happened in vain. His sacrifice has inspired and continues to inspire us and the wider public to build on and live up to his legacy, especially in eradicating enforced disappearance and in the struggle for genuine freedom and justice amidst the socially and structurally-entrenched widespread human rights violations and culture of impunity that continue to persist.

The Sombath Initiative reaffirms our solidarity with the Neelapaijit family and all the victims of enforced disappearance and their families. We proclaim our commitment to end this heinous crime against humanity and all forms of human rights violations. Our struggles shall endure until justice for the missing loved ones is served and human rights of all people are respected and protected.

In solidarity,

The Sombath Initiative

11 March, 2017

Where is Somchai? 13 Years

Event marking 13 years since the disappearance of Somchai Neelapaijit. The Somchai Neelapaijit Award will also be announced.

11 March 2017: 9:00 AM to 12:45 PM

Pri Banomyong Institute, Thonglor, Bangkok, Thailand

The Tragedy of Enforced Disappearances

Sombath Somphone and the Tragedy of Enforced Disappearances: A Press Conference and Interactive Dialogue was held at the FCCT in Bangkok, Thailand on 19 December 2016. Panelists included:

    • Pinnipa Preuksapan, wife of Pholachi “Billy” Rakchongcharoen, ethnic Karen land and rights activist
    • Angkhana Neelapaijit, Commissioner, National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, and wife of activist lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit
    • Shui-Meng Ng, wife of Sombath Somphone

The event was hosted by the Sombath Initiative moderated by Phil Robertson of Human Rights Watch.

Video of the event can be seen in four parts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

Sombath Somphone: Son of the Soil

padect-fair-20162016 PADETC Fair

Thursday, 15th December 2016

PADETC Office, Vientiane, Lao PDR

15 December 2016 marks the fourth year of the disappearance of Sombath Somphone, Founder of PADETC.

To commemorate Ajarn Sombath Somphone, PADETC will organize its Annual Fair under the title ‘Sombath Somphone – Son of the Soil’.