Never ending plight: Pakistani Christian asylum seekers facing great trouble in Thailand

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Pakistani Christians asylum seekers in Thailand

Pakistani Christians fleeing from persecution by escaped to Thailand face severe problems.

The Thai authorities have denied these Christian Asylum seekers protection of all sorts; which makes them prone to poverty, arrest and possible deportation. Because of the fact that, Thailand is not a participant of the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol, and so it does not has an official national asylum framework.

Because of this reason, Pakistani Christians are not treated as refugees or asylum seekers, instead as illegal immigrants in Thailand. Despite the fact that, those declared genuine refugees by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are still denied asylum in Thailand.

Upon arrival in Thailand, these Christian refugees understand that they cannot attain citizenship not buy property. Even though a Pakistani marries a Thai citizen, they are still not granted legal citizenship.

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Furthermore, since these Pakistani Christians do not have refugee status, they are not officially allowed to work. Because of this reason they have no means of legal income. Often times they try to earn money by doing illegal jobs or otherwise seek charity from churches.

In line with reports, about Pakistani Christian refugees were arrested by the Thai authorities in March earlier this year. Their homes were raided by the Thai immigration police and the arrestees were detained at the central jail or the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) in the capital of Bangkok.

Phil Robertson – Deputy Director of the Asia Division of Human Rights Watch says, “Pakistan’s blasphemy law has been used in a way to target religious minorities. There has been violence perpetrated against people accused of blasphemy. When facing that kind of persecution, many have no choice but to leave.”

Wilson Chowdhry- Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association says, “The poor can’t and don’t escape but the middle and upper classes flee to Thailand. Back in Pakistan they are doctors, lawyers, professors, politicians.”