Wilson Chowdhry consoles the women left behind with their children during the most recent raid on Christian asylum seekers
Our founder today reported on the dramatic raids and their aftermath that he witnessed against Pakistani Christian refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association (BPCA) travelled to Thailand last week to see for himself more of what Pakistani
Christian and Ahmahdi refugees suffer in Thailand.
Immediately after flying out from the UK to Thailand, he and his host were alerted by an emergency call-up system among Pakistani Christians that
there were immigration raids going on and they rushed to the spot but were too late to capture anything on camera, but they did find flimsy doors battered
down and distraught women and children left behind when the fathers, and sometimes the teenage daughters, had been roughly seized and taken into custody.
The women described a large number of police, armed soldiers and immigration officers kicking in doors and seizing them from hiding places under tables
and beds, about being treated like criminals, being pat-searched. They talked of the trauma of little children seeing their fathers being taken away.
They described the material and physical suffering involved, over and above the mental and emotional trauma:
One mother said:
“20 Policemen arrived with immigration officers and armed soldiers. They demanded we come out of hiding as we were all hidden under our tables and beds, they kicked in the doors of those who failed to come out of their homes. They treated us like criminals, pat searching us as if we were common thieves. They took my husband away in front of me and my child and my daughter is still traumatised and crying for her father.”
Another mother said:
“My husband has eaten nothing all day, they came early in the morning before we even had a chance to eat breakfast. They took away our men how will we feed our families and protect our children without them?”
In this raid, four Christian men, eight Ahmahdi (a much persecuted Muslim sect) and three teenage girls were taken into custody.
‘Before, the entire family, the women and the children, would have been taken into custody, but since the visit of human rights activist and peer Lord Alton, triggered by the BPCA, they seem to have stopped seizing women and children. However, the effects on the wellbeing of these already traumatized families are still severe. Whilst we were still talking to these Christian women, we heard of another raid elsewhere in which a further six Pakistani Christian men had been seized.’
Chowdhry and his local hosts then visited the arrested men who were terrified at the prospect of being incarcerated in already overcrowded, unhealthy
cells in the Immigration Detention Centre, and even more terrified they could be taken to the central jail as they could not pay the fines for overstaying
their tourist visas. They have to pay these fines, even though they have official UN asylum papers, because Thailand refused to adopt UN conventions
for asylum seekers. The next day, the delegation visited the women who had banded together to try and share the little resources they had, and they
were grateful for the two weeks supply of groceries the delegation provided. Some mothers and families had not been able to eat since the raid. Chowdhry
also reported that after some considerable difficulty, they managed to find the relevant court and team up with another charity to pay the fees of
the extremely traumatized men (this was the first time they had been arrested in this fashion). However, they were unable to release the men from detention
as the Thai government has rejected bail for people from a number of countries including Pakistan, after the recent Erawan shrine bombing terrorist
attack. There are also reports, Chowdhry said, that the bail closure is also linked to a new Chief administrator.
Chowdhry said that bail was £1000 per person, so charities with limited resources can only help the most vulnerable, even when bail is allowed. However,
with no hope of release, even when fines are paid, the suffering of Christian and Ahmahdi men so incarcerated and their families left even more destitute
outside is much greater now.
One of the detainees spoke with the BPCA, he said:
“I have never been treated this way before and have no previous criminal convictions. This treatment has left me feeling demoralised and dejected. I do not want to go into the Immigration Detention Centre as there is no privacy, food is scarce and I have heard of the bad treatment by wardens. I came to Thailand to escape persecution in Pakistan, but I am being persecuted again. Still I prefer this treatment to being killed in Pakistan.”
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:
‘We appeal for more funds to help these victims, both Christian and Ahmahdi’ he said. We also call on the Thai government to recognize that Christians from Pakistan are not a terrorist threat to be investigated. With the help of the local Pakistani Christian community, it should be relatively easy to weed out any people pretending to be Christians, and to save money and wasted effort, the Thai authorities should recognize this and act accordingly.’
The BPCA will be sharing harrowing personal accounts of victims of Asylum in Thailand over the next few weeks.
Please help us to help our suffering brothers and sisters.
That Pak-Christians would be safe and find shelter in Thailand without fear of arrest or mistreatment
For their daily food and shelter and for medical needs to be met
That God would intervene and that Thai authorities would recognise Pakistani Christians asylum seekers
For education to be available to the children and the teachers to be safe from arrest
We aim to raise £10,000 to provide food, medicines, and clothing to reach as many of these victims as possible.
If you feel led to help these suffering brothers and sisters in Thailand, then please use these bank details:
Sort Code: 20-44-22
Account number: 43163318
Ref: Love for Pakistani Christian Brick Kiln Workers
For international donations please use these details:
IBAN: GB62 BARC 20442243163318
Alternatively you can use the PayPal, our email address is email@example.com.
Cheques should be made payable to the BPCA to our address: 57 Green Lane, Ilford, Essex, IG1 1XG.
BRITISH PAKISTANI CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION is a trading name for BRITISH PAKISTANI CHRISTIANS LTD which is a charity entered onto the Register of Charities with the Registered Charity Number 1163363.
With your support we hope to change the lives of millions of Pakistani Christians.
Door handles broken by Immigration officers and Army personnel
Wilson Chowdhry consoling the isolated mothers after their husbands had all been arrested by Immigration officials
Wilson returned the next day to provide food for struggling families.
Two weeks supply of food was given to each family irrespective of faith.
Christians and Ahmadi families were able to feed their families again.
This child was not letting the food go…
Children are the real victims of persecution
Shackled men were given food after we paid their court fines.
Men with no previous convictions were treated as criminals
This one armed man lost his arm during an attack by an extremist in Pakistan. He was given food and encouragement by BPCA’s Wilson Chowdhry during his detention at the IDC.
Wilson Gives food to newly arrested asylum seekers at the IDC
This poor baby was one of the arrested asylum seekers
These men are being processed for detainment in the IDC. Wilson Chowdhry provided food and encouragement to them.