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Life under terrible conditions: A British Peer meets Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in detention centre of Bangkok


Pakistani Christians in Thai jails

A British Peer meets Pakistani Christian asylum seekers detained in Bangkok.

According to Pakistan Christian Post, David Alton (Lord Alton of Liverpool), met Pakistani Christian asylum seekers detained at Bangkok’s detention centre during a recent visit.

According to reports, David Alton was told by one of the Pakistani Christian detainee that he and his 6-year-old son share a detention cell with 95 other men and children. What is more, he told that he is allowed to meet his wife and daughters for only an hour once a week; concluding that his wife and other children are detained in another cell.

At the same time, he told the British Peer that he was a Pastor back home in Pakistan. He said that he and his family received death threats constantly, as a result of which he decided to flee from Pakistan.

According to some estimates, as a direct result of trepidation and constant threats to their lives, about 4,000 Pakistani Christians poured into Thailand and are now living illegally or in detention in Thailand. All of these Christians are primarily asylum seekers being least helped by the UNHCR.David Alton consecutively held meetings with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). He also put forth the petition organised by Pakistani Christian leaders in Bangkok along with a database document.

Also read: Indian PM urged to provide refuge to the persecuted Christians in Pakistan

This database document contained actual facts including the indecent overfilling in the detention centres, the deplorable letdown in processing asylum applications, a murky lack of UNHCR resources being made available to these asylum seekers, a lack of legal representation for detainees; utter failure to provide protection to women and children; too little or flawed translation facilities; refusal of providing education for children of asylum seekers ; inadequate health care, which causes deteriorating health conditions or even deaths of refugees in detention; most importantly Pakistan disposing off official records of Christians being persecuted on religious grounds in the country.

Thereupon, after seeing the dossier the UNHCR officials agreed that there is “extreme overcrowding” in the detention centres and that “conditions in Thai prisons are actually better than in the detention centres.”

David Alton met with senior British officials who are supervising the crisis situation and presented the evidence he had accumulated while meeting with several Pakistani Christians who are currently counted as living illegally because UNHCR has failed to process their asylum applications.

Further, David said, “the exodus from Pakistan is driven by visceral hatred and a fanatical disregard for the rights of minorities. In a country where the brave Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, can be murdered in broad daylight, where churches are bombed, where an illiterate woman can be sentenced to death of alleged blasphemy charges, where a husband and wife can be burnt alive in front of their young children, and where there is a culture of impunity which rarely leads to those responsible being brought to justice, it is little wonder that many Christians are fleeing for their lives.

It doubly compounds their suffering when the international community fails to step up to the plate in defence of those who have to endure such pitiless suffering and hardship.”