Asia Loses Democracy Champion: Surin Pitsuwan

We are deeply saddened to hear of a loss of a democracy champion and ally to the Asia region, Dr. Surin Pitsuwan.

Through his diplomatic life, Dr. Pitsuwan was an ally to human rights and democracy in Asia. During his time as Thailand’s deputy foreign minister from 1992 to 1995, thereafter becoming the prime minister from 1997 until 2001. During the East Timor crisis, when the ASEAN chairmanship was under Thailand, Pitsuwan led Southeast Asia in restoring law and order.

From 2007 until 2011, Pitsuwan was the first Thai to take the ASEAN Secretary-General position. During his tenure, he advocated for a regional bloc to take on a more activist role, taking a different approach to the “usual non-interface in the internal affairs” of member states to deflect human rights violations, which was reflected through his active engagement in Myanmar.

Pitsuwan has been a long time member of the Democrat Party in Thailand prioritizing democratic values and institutions.

The Asia Democracy Network is deeply saddened to have lost a long-term ally and champion to progressing democracy in Asia. We express our sincere prayers and condolences to his family.