Our lead project manager in Thailand, who operates under the pseudonym Christian Malik, has been busy purchasing food for the World Refugee Service at Urdu Church in the Hands of God, Bangkok.
British Pakistani Christians are challenging people of good conscience to do something to help refugees this weekend when the UN designated "World Refugee Day" celebrates it's 14th anniversary on June 20th 2015.
This day was designated by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to bring attention to the plight of approximately 14 million refugees around the world.
Our lead officer in Thailand going under the pseudonym of Christian Malik will be speaking at a service dedicated to millions of refugees across the world. He will be offering a prayer for their safety, resolute faith and perseverance through their struggle. His words will also honour their courage and strength through their difficult situation.
To kick start the giving the BPCA is giving 40 Pak-Christian asylum seeker and refugee families food supplies for a month in Thailand. With the help of one Christian charity they will also be announcing the start of a new free school that will serve at least 50 asylum/refugee children in Bangkok. The BPCA have already started resourcing for the school which will open in the next few weeks.
Green Pastures, another Christian charity, has also offered the BPCA a property in which to help refugees and asylum seekers in the UK, a project which will be up and running within a few months.
Pakistani Christians are fleeing their homeland in huge numbers under increasing animosity and attacks towards their community. In an attempt to shield the world from the truth Pakistani authorities are illegally preventing Christians from leaving the country on chartered flights. Christians have been paying thousands of pounds in bribes to to border agency staff in Pakistan, after having being initially turned away from their chartered flights.
These same refugees then waste what little resources they have feeding themselves and their families in the countries they escape to where work is not permitted to them until their refugee status is confirmed.
Tens of thousands of Pakistani Christians choose to flee to countries in South East Asia such as Thailand and Sri Lanka, as a dependency on tourism has resulted in simple protocol for tourist visas at low cost. However, these nations have not adopted the 1951 or 1967 UN conventions for asylum, meaning they can treat refugees as they wish. So for the 10,000 purported Pakistani Christian asylum seekers living in Thailand this means they can be arrested for overstaying and placed with criminals. They are fed low nutrition food, live in a squalid cell meant for 100 people, in which 150 detainees are squeezed into and sewage is poorly cleared. Victims can be brutalised and fines of £1000 are required for freedom on bail that only lasts for up to two years.
Local churches are helping where they can, but are increasingly stepping out of direct aid, as the needs are simply too immense for the churches to cope. Delays in the UNHCR process of acknowledging asylum status, then refugee status leading to eventual resettlement, is currently taking up to 10 years and this means that victims will have spent their initial resources within the first year or two.
BPCA Chairman Wilson Chowdhry, said:
"Britain and America's silence over the persecution of Christians in Pakistan is a result of the desire for a partner in the war on terror and the expectation of intelligence. Europe joins them in a desire for continuation of the trade agreements that help sustain global economies. This places the west at a horrible impasse where they struggle with moral conscience over economics and personal safety."
"Meanwhile Christians in Pakistan continue to suffer under the weight of attacks on their communities and individuals, restrictions on freedoms and extreme discrimination. Only 7% of Christians attain an adequate level of literacy and 86% work in the sewage industry (the government publishes "Christian applicants only" adverts), as domestic servants or as modern day slaves, in bonded labour paying of debts of £7 or £50 signed by a thumbprint, where children and generation after generation are locked into the same debt. Is it a surprise they are willing to be re-persecuted in another country?"
The BPCA is providing 100 families with one month's food packages this Sunday at Urdu Church in the Hands of God. The church was started up by Papa Thongchai who was ashamed of the manner in which Thai Churches were excluding Pakistani Christians from their churches. He has dedicated his life to helping our community, recognising they now make up the largest body of refugees in Thailand and have a desperate need for God's protection.
Papa Thongchai said:
"We thank God that we are able to serve our Pakistani brothers, but continue to pray that the UNHCR streamlines their process, so victims can escape to a country where freedom is finally granted to them. We urge Christians to support the work of the BPCA which is doing much to highlight the problem faced by Pak-Christian asylum seekers and providing a more pragmatic solution to their problems."
If you would like to donate towards the work of the BPCA in supporting Pak Christian Asylum seekers in Thailand, please use these bank details: