Boonthan T. Verawongse

Role: Secretary General at Human Rights Development Foundation (HRDF) and Campaign Committee for Human Rights (CCHR)
Active in Country: Thailand
DTP Program: 1991 DTP In-Country Training Program - Thailand


“DTP’s work to support human rights defenders, and to build the capacity of the human rights movement in Asia has never been more important. I have seen the benefit of its training for activists in Thailand, those working for many different human rights issues, including the rights of migrant workers and for the rights of LGBT+ plus advocates.” 

Boonthan is one of Thailand and ASEAN’s most experienced and respected human rights defenders and leaders. He has contributed to human rights promotion and protection through different roles in different organisations over three decades. He currently holds positions in five different organisations, which indicate his commitment to development of the human rights movement. He is a member of the ASEAN Watch Thailand, Thai Working Group for ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism and the Campaign for Popular Democracy (CPD). Moreover, Boonthan holds the position of Secretary General at the Human Rights and Development Foundation (HRDF) and Campaign Committee for Human Rights (CCHR). He is also sitting as the council member of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD).

Recently, he was among the top candidates for the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand in 2018 but all those prominent candidates from NGOs/ CSOs background were opposed by the military junta-dominated National Legislative Assembly.

Boonthan participated in DTP’s 1991 training program in Thailand. Since then he has been centrally involved in advancing human rights in Thailand – following the coup and subsequent democratic rising in 1992, and in promoting the rights of farmers and the poor as a new constitution was drafted. At the same time he was active in the Asian NGO mobilisation for the UN’s World Conference on Human Rights in 1993 – that rejected the efforts of authoritarian regimes in the region to promote cultural relativism – Asian values in opposition to the universal values of human dignity in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The 1993 Bangkok NGO Declaration on Human Rights was an important step in building and coordination human rights movements in Asia.

Boonthan became one of the core leaders of the Asia-Pacific Human Rights Facilitating Team – and subsequently regional efforts to develop an ASEAN Human Rights mechanism.  

“The DTP training really helped me – linking me with other activists and learning how to use human rights standards and the human rights system. We were all learning together, from different causes and countries.”

Boonthan’s solidarity work for human rights in Timor-Leste through the 1990s was recognised in 2019 when he was invited to be one of Timor-Leste’s special guests for the celebration in Dili of the 20th Anniversary of the independence referendum. 


Profile last updated November 2020.