SHIVANANDA KHAN AWARD
Professor Emeritus Vitit Muntarbhorn
“I feel very humbled by your kind consideration, especially as I consider myself to be a simple “volunteer” helping to promote and protect human rights, especially on LGBTI issues. Currently, in addition to the issue of the civil partnership bill in Thailand, we should also propel a law on gender identity recognition, a matter which I aim to raise constantly.
I am delighted to accept your kind nomination for the award, knowing that there are many people deserving to be recognised. It will inspire me to do even more human rights work and I wish to give credit to all human rights defenders!”
Vitit Muntarbhorn is a Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Law, ChulalongkornUniversity, Bangkok, Thailand; he is an international law and human rights expert. Hegraduated from Oxford University, United Kingdom (M.A.; B.C.L.) and from the UniversiteLibre de Bruxelles, Belgium (Licence Speciale en Droit Europeen). He is also a Barrister-at-Lawfrom the Middle Temple, London. He started teaching at the Faculty of Law, ChulalongkornUniversity in 1978. For nearly 40 years, he has taught Public International Law, Human RightsLaw, Seminar on International Law, Child Rights Law, and several other subjects in Thailandand abroad, including in France, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea.
Apart from his teaching at the Faculty of Law above, he has helped a number oforganizations domestically and internationally in various positions. He has served in severalcapacities as a pro bono United Nations (UN) expert, such as the first UN Special Rapporteuron the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography (1990 – 1994); the first UNSpecial Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea (North Korea) (2004 – 2010); Chairman of the (UN) Commission of Inquiry on the Coted’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) (2011); Member of the (UN) Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian ArabRepublic (2012 – 2016); and the first UN Independent Expert on Protection Against Violenceand Discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (2016 – 2017). For aperiod of time, he was also a member of an Advisory Group of Experts set up by the Officeof the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva; a member of the Advisory Board of theUN Fund for Technical Cooperation on Human Rights, Office of the UN High Commissionerfor Human Rights, Geneva; a member of the Advisory Board of the UN Human SecurityFund, New York; and a member of the Advisory Board of the UN Independent Expert toprepare the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty. He is currently a Member of theCommittee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations,International Labor Organization, Geneva, and a member of the UN Secretary General’s CivilSociety Advisory Board on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation.
At the regional level, he was formerly the Co-Chairperson of the civil society WorkingGroup for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism. He was also appointed by Thailand as theAlternate Thai member on the ASEAN High Level Panel to draft the terms of the referencefor the ASEAN Intergovernmental Human Rights Commission. At the national level, he helpsvarious government agencies, non-governmental organizations and other members of civilsociety in capacity building, such as in research, monitoring, advocacy, educational andtraining activities.
He has published widely nationally and internationally. His books include: The Status of Refugees in Asia (Oxford: Clarenden Press, 1992) and Unity in Connectivity? EvolvingHuman Rights Mechanisms in the ASEAN Region (Leiden/Boston: Nijhoff Publishers, 2013).His latest book is The Core Human Rights Treaties and Thailand (Leiden/Boston: NijhoffPublishers, 2016). He has written over 20 reports for the UN, and several hundred articles andother publications on international law, human rights, humanitarian law, and law anddevelopment. He is an occasional columnist of the Bangkok Post newspaper. He hasdelivered addresses in many parts of the globe, including at the UN General Assembly, theUN Human Rights Council and other fora. He is the recipient of several awards, including the2004 UNESCO Human Rights Education Prize, the Honorary Human Rights Prize from theNational Human Rights Commission of Thailand, and Knight Commander of the MostExcellence Order of the British Empire (KBE) which was bestowed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II.