There are several thousand Pak-Christian asylum seekers in Thailand all of whom are treated as illegal immigrants, even though a large percentage have either UNHCR registration as an official asylum seeker or refugee. This forces them to work cash in hand jobs for a pittance under extremely difficult and unsafe circumstances. Last year a Pak-Christian father died after a fall from a high ladder and was entitled to no compensation, even worse the business that hired him was not punished. Babar Ishaq left behind a large family with a severely mentally-impaired child – they are one of our beneficiaries. Read more (here)
The problem lies with the Royal Thai Governments refusal to ratify international conventions for asylum seekers. Moreover the Thai Government is adamant that they will not allow refugees and asylum seekers to take things easy in their country. Regular arrests, a fine system and brutal conditions in their Immigration Detention Centres (IDC) have been created to make life as tough as possible for those seeking safety and refuge within their borders.
In our last report we explained that Pak-Christians in Thailand are facing increased discrimination due to the spread of the Indian Omicron variant and fears associated with that. Many of these Christians have been waiting for more than 6 years to exit Thailand living a life in limbo. Read more (here)
As you can imagine many of these families struggle to make ends meet and every single family there is reliant on hand outs and charity. Most of theses asylum seekers are from middle-class or wealthy backgrounds [the BBC report below suggests some where doctors, teachers and had other good employment] and have lost everything when fleeing a blasphemy allegation or rape and forced marriage. If you would like to help us with our grant programme you can donate (here).
British Asian Christian Association, helped the BBC film a secret documentary at the Bangkok IDC when one of our team travelled secretly travelled to Bangkok with a BBC film crew (click here), risking arrest to shed light on the situation faced by the asylum diaspora there. This link (here) is a report that we helped BBC’s Chris Rogers write which also contains a short video of one of our schools for asylum seekers. You can watch the full documentary here:
Since January 2022, there has been a remarkable increase in the finalising of sponsored refugee cases. Almost 25 Christian families have been settled within Australia and Canada and more than 100 Christian families are waiting their turn for the settlement.
BACA has helped some of the refugee families pay their overstay fines before they leave Thailand for settlement in Australia or Canada and will continue to do so to make the transition as seamless as possible for these beleaguered Pak-Christians. One of the recent families we have helped were a family directly impacted by the attack on Gojra in 2009, that led to the creation of our charity. Read more (here)
Newer supporters may not be aware of our ground-breaking work that has allowed asylum to these two nations to include for Pak-Christians. We share this historic post which tells of how BACA persuaded the Australian government to introduce a quota of 100 Pakistani Christians a year on their sponsored asylum programme (click here). We are now seeing the blessing of that work as those quotas are being filled. In March two other families also left Thailand for Australia including the families of Charles Bhatti and Amjad Saleem. We wish them all well.
Moreover, the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board are still using reports sent to them by our group, to assess Pak-Christians, after our efforts induced Special Immigration status for the diaspora. Read more (here).
We had to pause our aid in Thailand from March to May due to the expiry of our representatives passport. However, we have helped him resolve this matter and were able to resume our work helping families with grants for food.
On 29th June 2022, ten asylum seeker families benefited from a 1000baht donations towards food from BACA. Most of these Christian families left Pakistan due to the attack on Gojra in 2009 and the attack on St Joseph’s community in Lahore in 2013. Read more (click here).
Pakistani families are usually large in size the economic pressures they face are exacerbated by the minimal help offered by the Bangkok UNHCR. Constant fear of arrest and the tiny salaries they earn through illegal work, has created severe mental health concerns. Most Pakistani Christians we have spoken with have expressed some level of depression though this is not a clinical assessment. When our officer (an asylum seeker himself) visits families, he shares prayers and spends time reading the Gospel with them. He is trained as a Pastor but this is not his profession. He is a great encourager and we have appreciated the wonderful work he is doing for the families we support. Please keep him and his family in your prayers.
On 29th June, BACA conduction gift money distribution program where ten families were donated a 1,000 Baht each. All these families wait for our help. To these families our gift money is a great solace for it is used to buy food or pay rents for the apartments.
You can hear from some of them here:
We have been helping between 10 – 20 families every month depending on the level of donations received. The money helps struggling families eat healthy, nourishing meals. You can help us continue this work by donating (here).