(Voice of the Persecuted) Based on the abuse Pakistani Christians face, it’s striking to our group how often they’re overlooked and ignored. We set out to why they are what we call the “invisibles”. After speaking with many Christians from Pakistan and those frozen in time in Thailand, and Malaysia, we found some very interesting facts. While it’s impossible to obtain numbers to prove there is a clear bias from the UNHCR in these countries in regard to Christians, what we did found was mind-boggling. At the time of this posting, we are still waiting on the UNHCR Bangkok office to send the statistics. When the information is received, we’ll give you an update.
The UNHCR office in Thailand recently demanded all Christian Asylum seekers report for a new identity card. They quickly told them this was not a work permit, and would not offer anything more than identification. But unfortunately, the Thai Government is not recognizing this ID nor, as in the past, their asylum status documents.
Some say there is an attitude of bias toward Pakistani Christians in Thailand. Other reports suggest that there is a hatred for all Pakistani’s in Thailand. They are viewed as possible terrorists.
Christians in Pakistan are persecuted severely. On the exterior, Pakistan is a democracy but the Mullahs rule with a strict form of Sharia law. The most recent evidence is the 16-year-old girl who was drugged, strangled, then tied to a van and set on fire. Why? She simply helped her friend who wanted to elope. In another case, a 2-year-old baby was killed because his father was a lowly Christian. The father was contracted to paint the home of a Muslim. When the homeowner didn’t want to pay the agreed price, he took others and shot up the Christian painter’s home, they killed the baby.
Then there is the terrifying murder of a Christian Couple that was burned alive at the brick kiln where they were bonded laborers. Their accusers are free under a loophole in Sharia law. Basically, there is no justice for persecutors of Christians in Pakistan. In recent news, a Rights Activist that was gunned down because he dared to voice the truth about extremism in the Pakistani Government. An act that happens too frequently. Story after story emerges about persecution and those who flee the hatred and violence, the fatwa’s issued against them, the physical attacks and assassination attempts on them for their faith. The false blasphemy charges brought against them, a law this being misused against minorities. In some cases, Christian women of families in hiding wear Burka’s to hide their identity. It goes on and on.
Now they are invisible as they are frozen in countries who refuse to recognize the UNHCR and refugee status. They are arrested and detained in deplorable conditions. Live in fear and hiding, with their children often malnourished and sick. World Watch Monitor reports the water in Thailand is unclean and a breeding ground for disease. Christians can’t freely move or legally work, bottled water is not an option.
A report by the BPCA details the horrific conditions Pakistani Christians are forced into. They also highlight the Human Rights Violations in their Report: “Education,Human Rights Violations in Pakistan and the Scandal involving UNHCR and the Christian Asylum Seekers in Thailand.” The report can be purchased for a nominal fee.
Excerpt from report: As many Christians have fled for their lives to Thailand, they have found being themselves being targeted again in ways that need to be urgently addressed. As Thailand is not a party to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol “and thus has no procedure for determining refugee status for urban asylum seekers, [it] has made no commitment to provide permanent asylum. Consequently, UNHCR undertakes refugee status determination (RSD) for asylum seekers in the absence of a government mechanism and recognizes some as refugees. UNHCR, however, has no authority to grant asylum. For the last two decades NGO’s have”, in this insecure environment in which asylum seekers live, “been the prime providers of assistance to refugees in Thailand”.dxxvi Christian and ‘Othered’ asylum seekers have been subject to the whims of UNHCR politiking and highly politicised budgetary decision-making, where, scandalously for some human rights commentators, “due to budgetary constraints, in 2009 only three UNHCR Thailand RSD eligibility officers were deciding refugee cases. Eligibility officers are still working under considerable pressure with a heavy caseload ”.dxxvii The situation remains as critical today as it did in 2009.
On the other hand, some have claimed their testimonies were not fairly translated during asylum interviews. Other translators are not 100% versed in Urdu, which causes a huge problem for the Pakistani Christians. Their details are not always accurate, lost in the translation. Their cases are subject to denial. In Malaysia, one report claims that the UNHCR is using Muslims to flood the system into a predominantly Christian area (Sabah).
In a report from the Bangkok Post, an official with the UNHCR is pushing for preference to the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. They’re in camps on the border of Thailand. But no mention of the 10,000 Christians languishing in Thailand.
In Malaysia, one report claims that the UNHCR is using Muslims to flood the system into a predominantly Christian area (Sabah). They also claim that there have been reports of the government issuing ID cards, and citizenship papers to those pledging their support for the government. So we find again, corruption and invisibility of Pakistani Christians.
So when you peel back the layers even without stats, you get a clear picture of what is transpiring and the Human rights abuses taking place. Christian refugees are ignored and placed under and invisible cloak. They are fearful to talk about it. If they do, the government begins a backlash with arrests and UNHCR interviews are postponed.
Thailand is embroiled with it’s own political battle and has begun punishing those who speak out against the new Junta. A report yesterday said that the UN was inquiring into the human rights abuse practices of punishing those speaking on social media. The report was titled “Thailand Faces Moment of Shame at U.N. Rights Council Meeting.” So will the UNHCR address the deplorable treatments of Pakistani Christians? The UNHCR seems helpless and some say are purposely ignoring the plight of the Christian Minority in favor of the Muslim population. Which we have seen even in America, when the President said it would be discrimination to give an exception to persecuted Christians and bring them here. But persecuted Christians are running out of safe places of refuge. Even re-persecuted in refugee centers in Europe.
We find the Muslim population in the U.S. and elsewhere take care of their own often pooling their finances to support asylum fees even for those they may not be related to. In heavy Muslim populated areas in the US, they build houses, provide jobs, and other needs for fellow Muslims. Yet, we find the Western Church ignores our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ. Some churches do all they can, but their numbers are low. In Thailand, very few churches offer help, those who do are burdened by the large numbers of Christian asylees. These asylum seekers must depend on the generosity of strangers, NGO’s and churches reaching out to them.
We in the West can and should do more for these precious brethren. Can your church sponsor a family, either to bring them here or support their monthly needs. The cost ranges between $200-$300.00. Even one month would be a great help. Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Thailand and the number of vetted cases on waiting list is long. Medical expenses are also a greatly needed. As many of the children suffer from malnutrition, and skin disorders. Any amount helps. No matter how small, it truly makes a difference. Can you help us keep working in Thailand to comfort and cover more this month?
Let’s take care of our own.
Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
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