Enforced Disappearances in South-East Asia

OHCHR welcomes Thailand decision to criminalize torture, enforced disappearances

thaiflag.BANGKOK (25 May 2016) – The UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) welcomes the decision by the Thai Government to enact a law to criminalize torture and enforced disappearances, and to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

“These decisions by the Government are positive steps toward meeting international human rights standards, and we urge the National Legislative Assembly to pass the torture and enforced disappearance law as a matter of priority,” said OHCHR’s Acting Regional Representative, Laurent Meillan. Read more...

Thai version

12 years on, case of Thailand's Somchai a cause for concern

Somchai.BANGKOK (11 March 2016) - Twelve years ago, prominent Thai human rights defender and lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit disappeared, last seen forced into a car with a group of men in Bangkok. Thailand’s leaders have admitted government involvement and pledged action in the case, but with little result. Somchai’s family and friends have themselves become victims in their painful pursuit of truth and justice.

At an event to mark the anniversary of Somchai’s disappearance, OHCHR’s acting regional representative Laurent Meillan expressed concern about the way the case has been handled and urged the Thai government to address the issue of enforced disappearances.


File Photo: A Thai activist holds a placard next to a photograph of a missing lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit during in a rally in 2004. (EPA).

Zeid urges Thailand to fully investigate enforced disappearances

Zeid2016.GENEVA (6 January 2016) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Wednesday urged the Thai Government to take decisive and sustained efforts to investigate the whereabouts of at least 82 people listed as disappeared, including respected lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit who went missing nearly 12 years ago.

Zeid also called on the Thai Government to criminalize enforced disappearance in its legislation, in line with international standards. Read more...

OHCHR calls for Laos Govt to provide answers in Sombath case

Sombath.BANGKOK (14 December 2015) - On the third anniversary of the disappearance of human rights defender Sombath Somphone, representative of OHCHR's Regional Office for South-East called on the Laos Government provide answers in the case.

The following statement was delivered by the Deputy head of the Regional Office, Laurent Meillan, at a news conference arranged by the Sombath Initiative in Bangkok.


OHCHR urges Royal Thai Government to expedite investigation into disappearance of prominent Karen human rights defender

BANGKOK (16 APRIL 2015) - The United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia (OHCHR) reiterated concerns about the lack of progress in the investigation on the enforced disappearance of Mr. Pholachi Rakchongcharoen (also known as Billy), a prominent Karen human rights defender. Read more... (English version/ Thai version)

Thailand: 10 years after Somchai’s disappearance, family still awaiting truth and justice

GENEVA (12 March 2014) – A group of United Nations independent experts* today called on the Government of Thailand to establish the truth and hold criminally responsible the perpetrators of the disappearance of human rights defender Somchai Neelaphaijit. On the 10th anniversary of his disappearance, the experts said the investigations on the case remain inconclusive and warned that the authorities may close the legal proceedings. Read more... (English version/ Thai version)

Enforced Disappearances: UN experts study over 200 cases – 13 under their urgent action procedure

GENEVA (13 July 2012) – The United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances* examined 13 reported cases of enforced disappearance under its urgent action procedure, as well as information on more than 200 cases, including newly-submitted cases and previously accepted ones.

The five independent human rights experts studied cases, including urgent actions, concerning Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bhutan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Egypt, Georgia, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Libya, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Peru, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Uzbekistan and Yemen. Read more...