Image of shackled Pak-Christian asylum seekers provided by Pastor Patrick Sarooj
Those relatively few Pakistani Christians who manage to escape to other countries are often not out of danger or trouble. Even in the UK, we have
had at least one instance of a refugee facing physical attacks and false charges typical of Pakistan within a couple of weeks of coming out of the asylum
process and into the council housing program of a major Midland city, and abuse within the asylum process is rife, particularly at the detention centres.
However, Pakistani Christians who flee to other countries often have it much, much worse. Thailand is a case in point. Thailand hasn’t signed
up to any of the international protocols regarding refugees and asylum-seekers, and refuses to accept the UNHCR certificates.
"Thailand is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol and does not have a formal national asylum framework. The Thai Government currently hosts refugees from Myanmar in nine temporary shelters along the border." From UNHCR website.
Thus virtually all asylum seekers in Thailand become illegal residents once their initial 3 month visa expires and are extremely vulnerable to brutal
police raids, are unable to legally work and are in an absolutely desperate situation financially – in utter degradation and poverty. A few Thai
churches and other organizations do what they can to help, but it is a drop in the ocean. The police raids involve them being treated like criminals,
sometimes with violence, and often more children under the age of 12 are incarcerated than any other age / gender group. They are stripped naked,
shaved and put in foot chains. When they are let out, they hide in cramped rooms with other families, too afraid of Thai police immigration raids
to go out and get food and essentials they can’t really afford for their starving children, afraid that – like Sri Lanka – they may be illegally deported
back to Pakistan to face their fate against the persecutors they have fled from.
Reports from the ground indicate that, effectively denied healthcare, severely ill brothers and sisters in Christ are writhing in pain.
The high stress results in heart attacks and strokes, with no real treatment available, and what is available is prohibitively expensive.
In one case, a Pakistani Christian father arrived at a health centre asking where he could sell his kidney so he could buy treatment for his young
The UNHCR reports that there are about 7,600 Pakistani asylum seekers and 400 refugees in Thailand, and it is pretty much certain that a high proportion
of these will be Christian. They will spend years, perhaps decades, perhaps their whole lives as ‘illegal’ asylum seekers or refugees as
the process is very slow. They can’t even buy graves for their dead, and against their will often forced to follow local Buddhist practices
of cremation or donating bodies to hospitals.
This is why these asylum seekers cry out for more open doors in the West, willing to publicly protest even in such a vulnerable position. This
is why BPCA is going there to see how we can help them. Chairman Wilson Chowdhry is flying out, and will visit with a local Thai pastor,
Thongcahi, founder of ‘A cry for the Persecuted Pakistani Christians’ who is seeking to help Pakistani Christian refugees. He will
visit with an asylum seeker, an accepted refugee and an ‘illegal’ to see their needs and to start to do what we can to help them. Wilson
will also be meeting several other legal and illegal asylum seekers in Thailand seeking assistance. Read more (click here)
Our aid work will include help towards medical costs as many have contracted illnesses and disease via unhygienic cells within the detention centre
they are captive in, provision of food and clothing and simple financial support for families struggling to make ends meet. We will partner
with local aid groups where possible and will be directed by Pastor Thongchai on best ways to help.
In addition, funds permitting, he intends in another month or so to go out to Sri Lanka, where Christian asylum seekers from Pakistan are badly treated – reporting maltreatment by UNHCR, the seizure of passports and other valuables and documents as a prelude to returning them forcibly to Pakistan, back to their persecution, a totally illegal movement. Unfortunately, a good number have already been illegally detained and sent back. A little of this is described in the following video by some refugees from Pakistan - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eikXioSXdM – the older sister in this video also got so frustrated by their situation that she filmed herself self-harming, cutting arms and chest, in protest at their treatment.
Help us to help our suffering brothers and sisters we aim to raise £10,000 to provide, food, medicines and clothing to reach as much of these victims
If you would like to donate towards helping these frightened and suffering Pak-Christian Asylum Seekers, then please use these bank details:
Sort Code: 20-67-90
Account number: 63468976
Ref: Love for brothers and sisters in Thailand
Alternatively if you would like to send a one off donation please use the pay-pal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog, our pay pal email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any cheques should be made payable for the BPCAto our address
; 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Christians in Pakistan.
Wife of Pastor Thongchai helping sick Pakistani Christian