(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 at VOP often call them, “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. (UPDATE Aug. 1, 2016—We have yet to receive the statistics from the Bangkok UNHCR office. Sadly, this doesn’t surprise us.)
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 of persecution and those who flee the hatred and violence, false blasphemy charges brought against them, a law this being misused against minorities, the violent fatwa’s issued against them, the physical attacks and assassination attempts all due to their faith. In some cases of families in hiding, we are aware of the women wearing Burkas to hide their identity. It goes on and on.
Invisible as they are frozen in countries who refuse to recognize the UNHCR refugee program nor the asylum certificate given to them when their case is filed. There are no programs of protection set up for them, such as Thailand. With visas expired, these asylum seekers 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.
Pakistani Christians face horrific conditions which they are forced to endure in Thailand. The country is not a signature of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. The UNHCR undertakes refugee status determination (RSD) for asylum seekers in the absence of a government mechanism and recognizes some as refugees, but has no authority to grant asylum. The asylum seekers are unable to legally work or provide for their basic needs without outside support. The situation remains as critical.
Some have claimed their testimonies were not fairly translated during asylum interviews. Translators are not 100% versed in Urdu, which causes a huge problem for the Pakistani Christians. Their details are not always accurate, or lost in the translation. Their cases are subject to denial.
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.
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.
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.” The UNHCR seems helpless and some say are purposely ignoring the plight of the Christian Minority in favor of the Muslim population. Some claim it would be discriminating to give an exception for persecuted Christians. But they’re running out of safe places, 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, but burdened by the large numbers of Christian asylees. These asylum seekers must depend on the generosity of strangers, NGO’s and churches to reach out.
We in the West can and should do more for these precious brethren. Can your church sponsor a family, or support their monthly needs? The cost ranges between $250-$300.00 per month depending on the size of the family. 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, skin infections and other illnesses. 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 families?
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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