Thailand (MNN) — About 11,500 Pakistani Christian refugees have fled to Thailand–a 51% increase from the year before, according to World Watch Monitor. Though the people have fled the persecution they faced in their home country, more dangers and fears are lurking in Thailand.
Coming into the country, the people received temporary visas, posing as tourists. Now, the visas have now long since expired. The asylum seeks have hidden in their tight apartments or kept to themselves to not draw attention from the Thai police. Bos News Life reports refugees are surviving with help from churches, charities, or engaging in illegal work.
Because of the mass of illegal Pakistani immigrants, Thai police have been cracking down, arresting or deporting people. The people have often been taken to the Immigration Detention Centres (IDC), which, by show of a BBC journalists’ undercover footage, are overcrowded and in horrible conditions.
Families have been split up and put into cage-like jail cells to remain for an undetermined amount of time. A number of children are suffering from disease. In the video, a woman sobs, “What have we done? We fled from Pakistan in fear, and they’re treating us like this.”
Almost all those who have been arrested are Christians.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is in Thailand and was put on the spotlight by the BBC documentary for not helping Pakistani asylum seekers or taking long spans of time to file claims of refugee statuses.
Some observers have stated UNHCR officials don’t believe Pakistani Christians are at risk of persecution in their home country, according to Bos News Life.
After publicity from the BBC documentary, the UNHCR issued some verification cards to the people.
The World Watch Monitor reports that verification cards read, “The card-holder is a person of concern to the UNHCR, registered and documented pursuant to its UN General Assembly Mandate, and should not be involuntarily returned to his/her country of origin. Any assistance accorded to the card-holder is most appreciated.”
Yet even those who have received the temporary ID cards have been arrested, including women and children.
The Christians are terrified to go out their door. They’re afraid they will be arrested by the police or be deported to their country that doesn’t accept them.
As they’re faced with difficult situations, will you pray for safety and acceptance? Also, please pray that these men, women, and children will stay strong in their faith in Christ.