Missing activist’s mother says authorities don’t want her talking to the UN

Kanya Theerawut, mother of missing political refugee Siam Theerawut, said at the ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (APF) on Thursday (12 September) that the Rights and Liberties Protection Department (RLPD) told her not to take her son’s case to the UN, as it could ruin the country’s image.

Kanya Theerawut (fifth from left) with a group of Siam's friends on the stage at the ASEAN Peoples' Forum

Kanya and a group of Siam’s friends were at the APF event at the Rangsit campus of Thammasat University yesterday to speak about his disappearance. She told the Forum’s participants that after five months, the family’s search for Siam has yet to yield any trace of him.

Kanya said that she went to the RLPD in August to ask for help in searching for Siam, and has given them information on the last time she contacted Siam. However, she said the RLPD told her not to bring Siam’s case to the UN because that will damage Thailand’s reputation. She also said that she was visited and questioned by Special Branch officers before her participation in the APF.

Siam's story

Siam went missing around May 2019 along with two other refugees: Chucheep “Uncle Sanam Luang” Chiwasut and Kritsana Tubthai. They were reportedly arrested in Vietnam and extradited to Bangkok. However, the Vietnamese authorities said they don’t have any information about the group’s entry into the country, their arrest, or extradition. Kanya has previously gone to the Crime Suppression Division, the Vietnamese Embassy, and the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, but so far there is still no progress.

Kanya said she is still sad that Thai laws cannot help her and that she doesn’t know whether her son is alive or dead. She asks anyone who has any information about Siam to contact the family, as they are very worried about him.