UN ID cards provide false hope of safety – 12 further arrests of Pak-Christians in 2 weeks has shattered morale.

Shahid Latif (RIP)

A dozen Pakistani Christians have been arrested over the last few weeks in Thaialnd. Among the arrested are a partially paralyzed man and a pregnant
woman, and there is fear in the community that their health will be compromised under the brutal conditions of the Immigration Detention Centre.

Amongst those arrested are a married couple who chose to leave their two young children behind in their room, rather then have them suffer the torturous
conditions in the IDC. The parents believe leaving the children stranded in the care of their community, is favourable.

Please sign our petition (click here)

Blame for their arrests is being placed on the increased boldness of the asylum seeker/refugee community, who stopped hiding from the community. It
seemed to the poor victims that the provision of new UNHCR Identity/registration cards hailed a new period of asylum free of arrest. This false premise
was exacerbated by certain media groups that sent out confusing messages such as this one (click here).
BPCA has continued to warn the community that the cards are not a  ‘get out of jail free card’ and simply empower the UNHCR against repeat applications
made by rogues – through retention of easily retrievable biometric data. The cards provide only one benefit to asylum seekers in that they are smaller
and more durable than the original paper version.

The verification cards read as follows:

“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.

Which seems to protect asylum seekers from deportation to their homeland and nothing more. A similar statement was included on the original paper version

Which seems to protect asylum seekers from deportation to their homeland and nothing more. A similar statement was included on the original paper version

A poster in the Immigration Detention Centres across Thailand states:

‘Verification Card is not an ID Card formally recognised by the Royal Thai Government. It is NOT a work permit and it is NOT a visa.”

The Royal Thai Government seem to have returned to their more brutal activity towards innocent refugees, after having ridden out the storm that erupted
after a BBC Documentary on the harsh treatment of asylum seekers in Bangkok. Their immediate response was to prevent access to a raft of charities and
foreign family members that had traveled to Bangkok to meet with imprisoned relatives. We reported on demoralizing decision after Wilson Chowdhry and over 20 other humanitarians were prevented access to the IDC,
many of them from charities who had also brought food for the malnourished detainees. The impact destroyed the morale of many inmates who depended on these
visits for a brief stretch of their legs and some counselling. Wilson Chowdhry and other charities were told the restrictions were the fault of the BBC
for revealing their secrets and filming in unauthorised territory.

The constant undermining of asylum seekers and their lowly status has created a huge loss in moral amongst these innocent victims.  So much so that
another asylum seeker has sadly lost his life.  Mr Shahid Latif (33 years) died of a heart attack whilst getting ready for a church service on Sunday
19th June. His brother Shahbaz Latif spoke with us, he said:

“Shahid was a brave strong man who loved God and trusted in Him. However the difficult life we have had to endure in Thailand took its toll on him.  He became thinner and weak due to inability to find regular food to eat. When he had his heart attack his body was just to weak to sustain his life, moreover he seemed to have less vigour and will to live.  I pray that God allows his soul to rest.”

Shahid leaves behind a wife and we ask that your pray for solace and peace for his family.  The family would like to send his body back to Pakistan
to be buried in his family plot and the BPCA have initiated a fund to help them do this.  The fund will also help support the widowed wife. 
If you would like to contribute details of how to donate can be found (here)

Shahid Latif exhibited affects of malnutrition.

Recently CBN News interviewed Wilson Chowdhry on the death of Samina Masih inside the Brutal Thai IDC (click here to view)

Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the BPCA, said:

“These arrests are a regression by the Royal Thai Authorities. After the BBC Documentary filmed by Chris Rogers for which the BPCA was involved in the planning and fixing of the investigative reporter with victims, they initially seemed to have calmed their approach to these innocent asylum seekers and victims. Arrests had temporarily stopped and many women and children were emancipated by charities such as the BPCA who paid for the necessary bail – set at £1000 a process itself said to be avaricious. Delays over applications for victims involved in the BBC documentary were a sad indication of their petty protectionism. Banning charity representatives and foreign family members access to victims underlined their attempts to simply preserve their reputation, during a time when much media attention was being drawn towards them.”

You can watch the full BBC Documentary (click here)

He added:

“At the time of the arrests I wrote an email to Thai Embassy officials pleading for access to healthcare for those detained. They failed to respond. Whatever
their reasons for these unwarranted arrests the simple fact is detention under the brutal and squalid conditions of the UNHCR, will only create or
exacerbate health concerns that will lead to further deaths. The Royal Thai Authorities must ensure that all the victims under their restrictions of
liberty have access to medication and professional medical assistance. Safer, cleaner more humane Immigration detention centres are required for such
custody or they will continue to be in breach of UN conventions they are a signatory to. We call for a stop to the ongoing arrests of UNHCR registered
asylum seekers and refugees especially women, children and those with existing health concerns.”