UN experts raise concerns about Thai activist’s disappearance in Cambodia
Taing Rinith / Khmer Times Sun, August 16, 2020
PHNOM PENH – Cambodia’s permanent mission to the U.N. said in a letter that besides the fact that no additional request has been made for further renewal of his temporary stay in Cambodia and media reports on the alleged abduction of Mr. Wanchalearm Satsakit, concerned authorities of Cambodia have neither knowledge nor any lead on his alleged abduction.
They were responding to a joint letter to Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, four UN experts expressed concerns over the disappearance of Thai activist Wanchalearm Satsakit in Cambodia.
Satsaksit, 37, is a Red Shirt activist who is wanted by Thai authorities for allegedly violating the country’s Computer Crime Act in 2018.
According to reports, Satsaksit was abducted by a group of armed men in front of his apartment in Phnom Penh in June.
However, the government has said it is not aware of him or his disappearance.
Following an official request by the Royal Thai Embassy to Cambodia, the Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into the disappearance of the Thai activist.
In the joint letter received by Khmer Times today, sent to Prak Sokhonn, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, four UN human right experts – namely Luciano Hazan, Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, Rhona Smith, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Agnes Callamard Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and David Kaye Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression – requested Cambodia provide detailed information on the investigations undertaken and the whereabouts of Satsaksit.
“While we do not wish to jump to conclusions regarding these allegations, we are deeply concerned about the alleged abduction and disappearance of Satsaksit,” the letter said.
“We are concerned that Satsaksit’s life may be at risk or that, given the outstanding arrest warrant against him, he may be subject to forcible repatriation to Thailand. We are also seriously concerned by the statements from some Cambodian authorities dismissing the allegation before a proper investigation,” it said.
“If no investigation has been undertaken, an explanation is needed. This is consistent with Cambodia’s international human rights obligations under the ICCPR and CED,” their letter said.
Khmer Times could not reach the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Koy Koung, for comment.