Updated: June 09, 2020 07:41 AM GMT
Protesters hold banners and portraits of kidnapped Thai activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit outside the Cambodian embassy in Bangkok on June 8. (Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP)
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has been widely condemned in Thailand for refusing to use its clout on behalf of a young Thai political dissident who was abducted last week in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital.
The UNHCR’s Bangkok chapter has said in response to requests for comment from Thai media that the issue was “political” and it would not address the case of Wanchalearm Satsaksit.
Wanchalearm, 37, was abducted by a group of unknown men dressed in black and armed with guns in Phnom Penh on June 4. He has not been heard from since. Rights activists believe he has likely been murdered on the orders of the regime in Bangkok, as has happened to several other political dissidents who have sought refuge in neighboring countries since the Thai military seized power in a coup in 2014.
The UN agency’s no-comment stance came after its Swedish-Thai goodwill ambassador, Praya Lundberg, drew flak for similarly brushing off requests to speak up on Wanchalearm’s behalf.
….As we enter the first months of 2022, we are asking readers like you to help us keep UCA News free.
For the last 40 years, UCA News has remained the most trusted and independent Catholic news and information service from Asia. Every week, we publish nearly 100 news reports, feature stories, commentaries, podcasts and video broadcasts that are exclusive and in-depth, and developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes.
Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to – South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.
And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters who cover 23 countries in south, southeast, and east Asia. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don’t have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.
With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.