ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) expresses its deepest condolences to the family and many friends of renowned academic and politician Kraisak Choonhavan, who passed away on Thursday evening. Kraisak was a founding member of APHR, and an important voice on human rights issues across Southeast Asia.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Khun Kraisak, who was a founding member of APHR," said Charles Santiago, a Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) and APHR chair. "We'd like to extend our condolences to his family and friends. Not only was he an important ally in the battle for human rights across the region, but he was also a dear friend. He will be sorely missed."
Kraisak was diagnosed with base of tongue cancer in 2015, and died at Bangkok's Siriraj Hospital on June 11. He was 72.
The son of former Prime Minister General Chatichai Choohavan, and Khunying Boonruen, Kraisak received a bachelor’s degree in international relations at the George Washington University in the United States, and a master's degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. After his studies, he returned to Thailand to teach politics at Kasetsart University.
He later joined his father's government, who he represented in solving disputes with Cambodia, as well as in peace talks with Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos.
In 2000, he was elected as a senator for Nakhon Ratchasima and chaired the Senate's committee on foreign affairs. He later became deputy leader of the Democrat Party, and remained a Member of Parliament until the House was dissolved in 2011.
In 2013, he was one of the founding members of APHR, which was established with the objective of promoting democracy and human rights across the region.
Kraisak was not only active in politics but was a public intellectual who had close friendships with scholars and progressive thinkers throughout ASEAN.