BANGKOK, THAILAND (bosnews report): “Outrage is building over the treatment of Pakistani Christian refugees in Bangkok. Nearly two months after my initial BosNewsLife column on this quiet tragedy, the BBC network has aired a documentary about their plight.
Over recent years the persecution of Christians in Pakistan has been intensifying, forcing 10,000 people to flee to Thailand seeking asylum. But in numerous cases they are arrested and jailed in Bangkok’s over-crowded immigration detention center. Using a hidden camera, a BBC journalist documented the oppressive conditions endured by these Christians.
His footage showed some of the hundreds of asylum seekers being held in stifling heat. They include mothers, detained with their children. Many of the children are suffering from diarrhea and vomiting, due to poor sanitation and dirty drinking water
Those refugees who aren’t jailed must often live in cramped apartments and survive on hand-outs from churches and charities. Or by engaging in illegal work activities. Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is taking years to process their claims for refugee status. Some observers say that UNHCR officials don’t even regard Pakistanis as being at a real risk of persecution in their home country.
It raises the question of why these Christians feel impelled to make the leap from the Pakistani frying pan into the Thai fire. When they realize that their fate is long years in Bangkok, unable to work legally and relying on hand-outs, and possibly even months in a detention center, why do they not simply return home?
It’s not difficult to find reasons. For example, three years ago in March 2013 a mob of 3,000 Muslims attacked Joseph Colony, a Christian neighbourhood in Lahore, setting fire to more than 170 homes and two churches. Also in Lahore, just one year ago, suicide bombers attacked two churches, killing 21 worshippers and injuring more than 70.
The BBC report provided further graphic examples. It featured a man named Sabir who fled Pakistan two years ago with his extended family. They now all live – 10 people – in a room with no kitchen or toilet. The UNHCR has said it will not investigate his case until 2018. Two months ago his wife was arrested.
Yet Sabir proclaims that he doesn’t regret leaving Pakistan, where his family was threatened with death if they did not convert to Islam. “Over here, the only fear we have is of the immigration police, nothing else,” he told the BBC.
The BBC journalist also met a pastor who said Islamists tried to cut off his arm and his sister was burned alive, as punishment for converting to Christianity. Yet, the online BBC report ended on a note of hope. It quoted a Pakistani Christian man named Daniel: “Jesus said to us, ‘if someone troubles you, don’t ask for curses for him, instead, you should ask for blessings for him.’ So, we ask for blessings for the UNHCR.”
We must pray that the same spirit of love and reconciliation might quickly touch the hearts of all officials in Thailand.”
Nazia, a pakistani christian persecuted to Thailand with her family informed Truth Inside Of You about the tragedy that she and her family live:
“….Now Thai Government uses fully pressure on our people. They take action and arrested too many People from different areas of Bangkok and send them in IDC. We all time feeling afraid to Thai Police and Immigration. We do not want to die. We need freedom. We are waiting for a Good Samaritan who will come and save us from dying.” and she added, “I request you please to take any step for us because the situation is very critical for us again Thai government is arresting people; we are very worried. UNHCR is not doing anything for us. We are in trouble. The organizations are filling their own pockets.Everyone just collects bio data and then they do nothing.Our default is that we are still alive. When a person or a family dies due to persecution then every organization turns positive to help them because they already died. It’s our default that we are alive.” “We are going through in severe financial, emotional crises and we are disappointed and depressed about our condition. UNHCR scheduled for me Refugee Status Determination (RSD) interview on 3 Oct 2016. It’s a very long period to wait;”. “Thailand is not the signatory country of Geneva Refugee Convention in 1951.We are at constant risk of arrest and detention by police. Immigration police can raid any time at our living place or can extort us….”
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Source: BosNewsLife Columns