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13 frightened children arrested during brutal Thai asylum raids despite Thai Prime Minister assuring end to child detention


Today only hours earlier 7 adults and 9 children were arrested from Onut soi 58 in Bangkok during further raids on Pakistani  Christian asylum seeker families, despite assurances at the 'Summit on the Global Refugee Crises' in New York 20th September 2016, from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, that he would terminate refugee child detention and initiate a robust refugee-screening mechanism.

To compound matters a further 2 adults and 4 children were arrested in Ramkhamheng, Bangkok later in the afternoon.

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Pakistani Christian families who were starting their afternoon lunch were interrupted by uniformed officials from the police and immigration department of Thailand and placed under arrest before they could complete their meals.  BPCA officers are heading towards the immigration offices where they are kept prior to be taken to courts and will provide those arrested with some food and counselling.  Tomorrow BPCA will send an officer to pay the court fines for overstaying their visas to prevent these victims having to endure a brutal incarceration within Central Jail where they would be imprisoned with rapists and murders and suffer significant bullying.

The struggling asylum seekers families have been exploited by local Thai's since arriving in the country, paid a pittance for hard labour due to no legal recourse to employment and are paying through the nose for accommodation of the lowest standard. This desperate situation means police and immigration raiding parties know exactly where these innocent victims can be found  and are picking them off one by one as space is created by the asylum seekers who return home from the overcrowded and brutal Immigration Detention Centre (IDC).

Thailand has ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which article 9 forbids arbitrary, unlawful, or indefinite detention, including non-nationals.
"A state may only restrict the right to liberty of asylum seekers in exceptional cases following a detailed assessment of the individual concerned and after other alternatives to detention have been exhausted. Refugees and children should never be detained based on their immigration status alone," states the act.

During a review of Thailand’s obligations with the ICCPR in March 2017, the UN Human Rights Committee condemned Thailand’s indefinite detention of refugees and asylum seekers and recommended that the Thai authorities “refrain from detaining refugees, asylum seekers and migrants and implement alternatives to detention, including before deportation.”

On January 10, 2017, the Thai government passed Cabinet Resolution No. 10/01 B.E. 2560 providing for the establishment of a “Committee for the Management of Undocumented Migrants and Refugees” to develop criteria and methods to identify and manage undocumented migrants and refugees. However, the Thai government one year later has still to establish any structures to recognize refugees and asylum seekers and it continue to re-persecute asylum seekers who sought protection within the nations borders.

Thailand is party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which provides minimum standards to ensure the protection, survival, and development of all children without discrimination. Article 37 of the CRC prohibits the unlawful or arbitrary detention of children and provides that the arrest and detention of children should be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time.

Article 37: (Detention and punishment): No one is allowed to punish children in a cruel or harmful way. Children who break the law should not be treated cruelly. They should not be put in prison with adults, should be able to keep in contact with their families, and should not be sentenced to death or life imprisonment without possibility of release.

British Pakistani Christian Association, was able to speak to Zahid Younis, one of the captured asylum seekers, he said:

"We were caught unawares and our children are frightened.  They have been asking me if we will be sent back to Pakistan and killed, the nature of the attack on my children and me in Pakistan is still affecting them.  

"I have told them for now we will be kept safe in the IDC a place that frightens us all, we have heard of its insalubrious nature and brutality.  Even then it seems like paradise when we think of the dangers in Pakistan a nation we once called home."

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Paksitani Christian Association, said:

"The hatred for Pakistani Christians in Thailand will never end, the avaricious government targets them without any pause.

"Our beleaguered brothers and sisters are contracting illnesses and conditions for hard labour, in dangerous environments without PPE and are paid a pittance for slave-labour.  

"The double-minded Royal Thai Government can't make up their minds what to do with these asylum seekers, on one hand they arrest them, on the other hand those that want to leave and return to the 'devil they know' are receiving a stealth tax in the form of overstay fines for the privilege of returning home, which is unaffordable to them.  So they choose to remain and some even die in the brutal Thai IDC. 

"Those arrested are prevented access to necessary medical treatment and in the unhygienic, inhumane atmosphere of the IDC all exhibit a decline in their health. 

"Worse still the detention of children a globally abhorrent act for which the President of Thailand assured termination, continues unabated and ignored by a pseudo committee without the teeth or desire to bring any change to the lot of thousands of asylum seekers and refugees with pariah status in their nation.

"Every person in the brutual IDC of Thailand should be set free, they have suffered enough.  Thailand must observe the protections stipulated for asylum seekers and refugees registered with the UNHCR and must comply with the international conventions and laws that it has subscribed too. 

Failing that Thailand's international status should be restricted until real change begins."

BPCA has initiated an appeal for these victims that will pay for all the overstay fines for these beleaguered asylum seekers.  We need to raise £100 per person and hope to have raised it by tomorrow. If you can help with a doantion please (click here) 

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The victims arrested at Onut Soi 58, have been named as
Zahid Younas Family. 2 Adults 4 children
Shoukat and wife Lubna - 2 Adults 3 Children
Farzan Joseph Wife Lubna and his Mother Parveen - 3 Adults and 2 children

Victims from Ramkamheng are still to be named.  Please pray for all these victims.

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