Don’t forget ‘disappeared’

Bangkok Post: 21 December 2019

One year ago this month, Thai activist Surachai Danwattananusorn disappeared mysteriously from his residence in the Lao capital of Vientiane, while the bodies of his two aides were found in the Mekong River. Also, seven years ago this month, Lao activist Sombath Somphone suffered a “forced disappearance” in Vientiane.

These men were all prominent critics of the state, and this is perhaps a good enough explanation as to why neither the Thai and Lao governments have managed to unearth the truth behind the disappearances and killings.

Mr Surachai fled Thailand a few days before the 2014 coup and lived in exile in Vientiane to avoid being thrown behind bars for alleged lese majeste offences. He was followed by his aides, Chatchan Bupphawan and Kraidej Luelert, who used their time in Laos to criticise the military junta and the institution. Continue reading “Don’t forget ‘disappeared’”

Denuncian impunidad en desapariciones forzadas en Tailandia

El Siglo de Torreón: 18 December 2019

Numerosas víctimas de diferentes países asiáticos han sido contabilizadas por lo menos 20 años

Activistas y familiares de desaparecidos forzados denunciaron este martes en Bangkok la impunidad con que este crimen se comete en el sudeste asiático, donde hay decenas de casos sin resolver en medio de un ambiente de “miedo”.

Así lo expresaron en una conferencia sobre desapariciones forzadas celebrada con motivo del séptimo aniversario de la desaparición del activista laosiano Sombath Somphone, que continúa en paradero desconocido desde que fue detenido en un control policial en diciembre de 2012 en Vientián. Continue reading “Denuncian impunidad en desapariciones forzadas en Tailandia”

"Answers are Needed"

I hope the Lao government would assume a more active role in finding out the truth of this particularly unwelcome event…

It does touch on the value of human rights. There are disappearances [when people go missing] and enforced disappearances [when people may have been seized by the state]….

You can’t have enforced disappearances – it’s not something we like in this part of the world.

Anand Panyarachun, former Thai Prime Minister and Magsaysay winner, in The Nation, 11 January 2013

I feel that answers are needed… The government has the responsibility to answer questions as to what has happened to him. The government of the Lao PDR is not really taking up this responsibility.

Jon Ungpakorn, former Thai Senator and Magsaysay winner, in The Nation, 11 January 2013

Former Prime Minister of Thailand expresses concern

Anand urges Vientiane to find missing activist

The Nation ,  January 11, 2013

Former Thai prime minister Anand Panyarachun has appealed to the Lao government to do more to locate the missing activist Sombath Somphone, who disappeared in Vientiane nearly a month ago.

Anand, who attended the launch of a film at the Bangkok Arts Centre on Thursday evening, said he didn’t want to debate the circumstances of what occurred to Sombath – who exiles claim was abducted by government officials after being stopped at a police checkpoint in the capital.

But he urged Vientiane to do more to investigate, saying the 60-year-old social activist was a “very good man”.

Speaking during a debate on reconciliation televised by Thai PBS after the film showing, Anand said the disappearance of Sombath was bad for the region.

“I hope the Lao government would assume a more active role in finding out the truth of this particularly unwelcome event,” he said.

“It does touch on the value of human rights. There are disappearances [when people go missing] and enforced disappearances [when people may have been seized by the state].

“You can’t have enforced disappearances – it’s not something we like in this part of the world.” Continue reading “Former Prime Minister of Thailand expresses concern”