Open Letter to AICHR: Requesting to protect human rights of the peoples of ASEAN with regards to Mr. Wanchalearm Satsaksit’s abduction and enforced disappearance in Cambodia on June 4, 2020

Open Letter to AICHR

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)

299 Khuen Thani Road

Nai Muang, Muang District

Ubon Ratchathani

THAILAND 

                                                                                                4 Oct 2020

Subj:     Requesting to protect human rights of the peoples of ASEAN particularly under Articles 11 of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, with regards to Mr. Wanchalearm Satsaksit’s abduction and enforced disappearance in Cambodia on June 4, 2020

Dear      Chairperson of AICHR

I, Ms. Sitanan Satsaksit, an authorized person of Ms. Saowaphon Satsaksit (formerly Darunee), residing at 299 Khuen Thani Road, Tambon Nai Muang, Muang District, Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand. Ms. Saowaphon is a mother of Mr. Wanchalearm Satsaksit, who have been abducted and disappeared in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on June 4, 2020. 

On June 4, 2020, approximately around 16.45-16.54, at least three armed and unknown persons have coerced, physically abused, used violence or threatened to use violence against Mr. Wanchalearm to compel him to do or not to do any act as a result of fear over his life, body, liberty or reputation or property by wrapping their arms around his neck from behind and dragging him into a black or dark blue SUV car, a Toyota Highlander with unknown year of manufacturing and with license plate no. 2X-2307.[1] A security guard at the scene tried to help Mr. Wanchalearm, but desisted when he realized that one of the kidnappers was armed with a gun.[2] The incidence took place in front of the Mekong Gardens Condominium in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh.

I believed that the disappearance of Mr. Wanchalearm may be, more of less, related to the context of ongoing efforts by Thai authorities to persecute dissidents concerning the Thai monarchy and Thai military junta that seized power following the latest military coup d’état in Thailand on May 22, 2014.

The coercive violence against Mr. Wanchalearm not only violates the criminal laws of both Thailand and Cambodia, but also violates the right to life, the right to personal integrity, the right to liberty and security of the person, and the right to freedom of expression guaranteed under articles 6, 7, 9 and 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED), as well as, several articles of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.

Today is the 4th month after Mr. Wanchalearm’s abduction and disappearance. Despite our attempt to coordinate with various competent authorities both in Thailand and Cambodia in the past 4 months, the fate and whereabout of Mr. Wanchalearm still remains unknown.

Therefore, I would like to request your good office, as the human rights body of ASEAN, to proceed within your mandate and functions, to closely monitor this case, including, but not limited to, obtain information from Thailand and Cambodia, as ASEAN Member States, and consult with national and international institutions and entities, in accordance with articles 4.9 and 4.10 of the AICHR TOR, in order to have effective human rights protection of the ASEAN people.

Lastly, I wish AICHR, ASEAN Member States, in particular, Thailand and Cambodia, will make every effort to ensure that Thailand and Cambodia are going to have efficient and effective investigations over Mr. Wanchalearm’s disappearance to bring perpetrators to criminal justice, to bring the truth and whereabout of Mr. Wanchalearm to the family, and to prevent future enforced disappearance cases in ASEAN.    

Yours sincerely,

           (Sitanan Satsaksit)

     Sister of Mr. Wanchalearm

Authorized person to report the case

Contact: Phone +66 92 391-4453


[1] VOA, Eyewitnesses Confirm Thai Pro-Democracy Activist’s Abduction in Phnom Penh, 5 June 2020; available at: https://www.voacambodia.com/a/eyewitnesses-confirm-thai-pro-democracy-activist-abduction-in-phnom-penh/5450612.html

[2] Prachatai, “Argh, can’t breathe”: Thai political exile kidnapped in Phnom Penh, 4 June 2020; available at: https://prachatai.com/english/node/8561

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