Dear Friends, I have just returned from visiting Thailand, where I was able to meet with many Pak Christian refugees, including those in the IDCs (Immigration Detention Centres). The situation of Pak Christian refugees is abysmal and they are facing hardships of many sorts. Here are some highlights of the difficulties faced by them.
1- They are not allowed to work to sustain themselves and they aren’t receiving any help from UNHCR or Thai Govt.
2- Some are suffering from various ailments, including some cancer patients; though UNHCR isn’t providing the medical care, apart from pain killers. Some who need urgent surgical operations, though they are being denied and they are fearful of their situations getting worse.
3- Police is arresting people on massive scale, keeping them in humiliating conditions within detention centres. Men are often stripped naked, kept in chains and locked upto 300 in a 200-60 feel cell, where they have to sleep on their side as there isn’t enough space to sleep on their backs.
4- Situation of female detainees isn’t much better, as they are forced to use toilets that have curtains instead of walls, where guards can actually see them. It’s heart breaking to see 2 year old kids in the arms of their mothers, inside detention centres.
The main reason for this situation is the feud between UNHCR and the Thai govt, as UNHCR gave refugee status to many Thai opposition activists (known as Red Shirts) and sent them to New Zealand, where they gave disrespectful statements against the Thai govt, the PM and even the King. Resultantly Thai govt is giving ultimatums to UNHCR and arresting many asylum seekers, including Pak Christians, alleging them of overstaying their visas and being illegal migrants. PMRO is putting a strategy in place to help resolve this situation, though currently British Parliament dissolved and headed for fresh elections isn’t helping us in this regard.
At the moment Farrukh Saif Foundation is probably the only organisation helping people on the ground with their felt needs, though the need is so big for them to be able to help everyone. Please pray for Pak Christian refugees and all those striving to help them.