A delegation of International Christian Council (ICC) met with Dr. Phuchphop Mongkolnavin the Minister Counselor of Thailand Embassy, London to raise their voice against the inhumane treatment of Christian asylum seekers in Thailand.
The delegation headed by Qamar Shams Adv, included members of ICC Rev. Robinson Asghar, Ijaz H. James, Esther Das and Taskeen Khan.
The delegation discussed the situation of Pakistani Christians who had migrated to Thailand for asylum. The delegation also demanded that these people be allowed to work and provide for themselves in Thailand.
Due to various incidents of religious persecution against Pakistani Christians including false accusations of blasphemy leading to death sentence or public lynching and forced conversions, a large number of Christians migrated from Pakistan to other countries. In 2009, a large number migrated to Thailand and Sri Lanka in the hope of finding asylum in these countries as these countries had entry on arrival on Pakistani Passport at that time and airfare was cheap when EU, North America and Australia were reluctant to issue them visas, but up till now thousands of Pakistani Christians are waiting to be settled by the UNHCR.
These asylum seekers cannot return to Pakistan as they sold all their possessions to provide the resources for migration. They will be on roads if they return to Pakistan.
The Thailand government does not accept these asylum seekers and many are arrested and kept in detention centers in conditions worse than animals. Three have died due to the inhuman treatment in detention centers.
The situation of Christian asylum seekers in Thailand is of major concern for Pakistani Christians residing in different parts of the world and Christians from all over the world feel the pain and are striving to work for betterment of conditions for Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Thailand. Different Christian organisations are working to help the Christians suffering in miserable situations.
Recently, members of Pakistan Christian Congress and an NGO met with Ms. Thanida Menasavet, Counselor for Human Rights and Social Issues for the Kingdom of Thailand Embassy in Washington D.C. to raise the issue. Christians in Belgium and Holland protested in front of the Thailand embassy and demanded the Thai government to look into the matter and ease the misery of Christians demanding asylum in Thailand.
Similarly, Pakistani Christian politician, Asiya Nasir raised the issue in Pakistani Parliament and demanded the Pakistani government to take necessary steps for the settlement or return of these citizens.