The 2nd anniversary, there is still no justice for Wanchalearm and his family. Amnesty urging Thailand to drop cases against Wanchalearm's Sister

4 June 2022

Amnesty International

Today (4 June 2022), Amnesty International Thailand, the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) and the Suan Kru Angoon organized an event to commemorate the 2nd anniversary of the disappearance of Wanchalearn Satsaksit. Title “A bit of gossip from friends of Wanchalearm”, it invites friends and colleagues of ‘Wanchalearm’ to share their friendship and fraternity and features an exhibition of exclusive photos and a roundtable of fellow activists. Demands are being made toward the authorities in Thailand and Cambodia to fathom the truth and restore justice for him and his family. The event will be ended with a candle vigil to beam the ray of hope and to express our faith in human rights.


Piyanut Kotsan, Director of Amnesty International Thailandsaid that today marks the 2nd anniversary of Wanchalearn Satsaksit’s disappearance. A Thai activist, Wanchalearm was abducted the evening of 4 June 2020 in front of a condominium in Cambodia. There has barely been any progress in the investigation while his whereabouts are still unknown to his family. The Cambodian authorities have clearly failed to investigate the case and locate his whereabouts. They have also failed to live up to their legal obligations to carry out an effective investigation on an enforced disappearance.

Until now, Amnesty International has met with and submitted open letters to the Thai authorities to urge them to help expedite the process, particularly the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Office of Attorney General (OAG). The Thai authorities have been urged to carry out an investigation and explore facts in this case comprehensively while respecting the right to have access to justice of the victim and the family and to bring to justice the perpetrators through a fair trial as well as to bring an end to the culture of impunity concerning grave human rights violations including torture and enforced disappearance. In addition, to ensure the independence and the credibility of the investigation, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has been urged to participate in the investigation closely. 

“We continue to call on the Thai authorities to take action and carry out a comprehensive, impartial and independent investigation to the enforced disappearance which happened to one its own nationals while he was in another country. In the past several years, many Thais living in exile in neighboring countries have been subject to enforced disappearances. It is critically important to have a genuinely independent investigation without interference from the government.”


Meanwhile, Ms. Sitanan Satsaksit,Wanchalearn Satsaksit’s sister, calls on the authorities in Thailand and Cambodia to collaborate and uncover the truth and what happened to him. She has been invited to speak in various forums to demand justice for her family. In return, she has been slapped with charges for violating the Emergency Decree in two cases. 

The first case stems from her participating in the #Mob5Sept at the Asoke Intersection on 5 September 2021 during which she spoke about the injustice inflicted on her by the authorities and demanded justice for her brother and other victims of enforced disappearance. The other case arises from her submission of a letter of petition in front of the UN Headquarters in Bangkok on 10 December 2021 to demand justice for her brother and to solutions for human rights in Thailand. There, she asked the Thai authorities if 'the fight for justice of my family is really a threat to national security?” Both public assemblies took place unarmed and peacefully, and it was the exercise of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). 

“Until now, the Thai authorities have used the Emergency Decree indiscriminately and unlawfully. Claiming the need to contain the spread of Covid-19, the state has weaponized the law to target human rights defenders, activists, and protesters to silence political dissents. Amnesty International calls on the Thai authorities to withdraw the charges and stop harassing Sitanan, Wanchalearn’s sister, and other HRDs in Thailand”. 

In addition, Amnesty International calls on Thailand to enact the Draft Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance in compliance with the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.


To wrap up today’s event, the participants help to light the candles of hope to show their faith in human rights and to declare their determination to protect anyone from future enforced disappearance and to not let anyone die or get charged simply for expressing their political dissent or criticizing the government. These people have simply exercised their right to freedom of expression, a fundamental right according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as long as such expression does not promote hatred or instigate the use of violence in society.