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The Committee on Enforced Disappearances has submitted a request to the Cambodian state to take urgent action in the case of Wanchalearm Satsaksit.

A person holding a poster of Wanchalearm with a caption 'MISSING'

On 10 June, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances submitted a petition to the Cambodian authorities to take immediate and urgent action over the disappearance of Wanchalearm Satsaksit, a Thai activist in exile who was kidnapped in Phnom Penh on 4 June.

"Argh, can't breathe": Thai political exile kidnapped in Phnom Penh

The petition was submitted in compliance with the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons against Enforced Disappearance which Cambodia has ratified. 

“The Committee was informed that Mr.Wanchalearm’s disappearance occurred in the context of ongoing persecution of Thai dissidents who fled to neighbouring countries following the coup on 22 May 2014. It is reported that eight such dissidents have disappeared so far, two of them having been later found dead.

“The committee was also informed that the perpetrators of Mr.Wanchalearm’s disappearance appeared to have been professionally trained, which would imply that they may be linked to State agents, and that no ransom was requested,” the petition stated.

The Committee requested that Cambodia, as a state party, take the following action regarding the case submit information of the actions taken by 24 June 2020:

  • To take all necessary measures to search, locate and protect Wanchalearm, including establishing and implementing a comprehensive strategy of search and investigation with a periodically reviewable action plan and timeline.
  • If Wanchalearm’s location can be confirmed, to take him under the protection of law and the family and committee should be informed of his whereabouts. Wanchalearm should be enabled to make immediate contact with relatives, counsel or person of his choice, including visits if he is detained.
  • If Wanchalearm’s location cannot be confirmed, to take immediate action to locate or clarify his alleged disappearance and to guarantee his placement under the protection of law.
  • To take all measures that are necessary to identify the perpetrators, taking into account that this can be paramount in the search for the disappeared person.
  • To provide the Committee with information as to the measures taken to implement each of these recommendations and the results of the actions.

Wanchalearm’s family said that in the use of human rights mechanisms will allow Cambodia as the State party to fully proceed in planning, scheduling and directing the action plan in line with the suggestions. The family believes that they would be able to embrace Wanchalearm once again if the Thai and Cambodian governments act honestly and sincerely.

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