Voice of the Persecuted — Children of persecuted Pakistani Christians in Thailand woke up to the wailing sounds of their parents as Immigration police broke through their doors around 7 a.m. this morning. Immigration police raided Suppamas Mansion (apartment building) in Charan Sanitwong 8 and about 30 families were rounded up from their rooms and taken to the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) at Suan Phlu road in Bangkok. Approximately 80 people including 30 children and 50 adults have been reportedly arrested in that raid.
Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) began receiving urgent reports from our Thailand Representative, Christian Malik, while the raids were taking place. We were able to send out an alert to inform Pakistani Christian asylum seekers and refugees to stay indoors and out of sight. We also asked others to begin praying for them.
Among those arrested is Robin Victor, a father of three young children, who is a dialysis patient and is treated every 48 hours on a dialysis machine. We are gravely concerned that if he is not released his health may quickly deteriorate. Over the course of three years, approximately three people have died in the IDC due to medical illnesses. If appropriate action isn’t taken in time, Mr. Victor’s life could be in danger.
Immigration police continued its advance, far and beyond within Bangkok, and conducted two further raids in the evening hours. A building was raided in the Minburi District and about 9 people were arrested. One of those arrested is Tariq Gill, along with his two sisters, who received aid through VOP’s relief program for a few months in 2015 until an Australian church began covering their expenses.
Another apartment building was raided at Phet Kasem 77 in Bang Wa District and several people were detained. The exact figure for this raid is unidentifiable as Immigration authorities quickly took away their mobile phones.
Among other advancements, Immigration police cancelled the visas of Mr. X and Mr. Y. [ names withheld ] Mr. X is over 50 years old and had a retirement visa which he renewed 2 weeks ago, whereas Mr. Y had a non-B visa which he had recently obtained. The visas were rejected on the grounds that Mr. Y could speak Thai despite being in the country for a short period of time, while Mr. X, who had stayed legally in the country for the past 5 years, couldn’t explain how he fulfilled the requirements for his retirement visa. Voice of the Persecuted would like to acknowledge Mr. X for being one of those who has helped our relief mission, Project 133, to deliver aid such as food, toiletries, baby formula and diapers to those suffering inside the IDC. He has done so graciously without the expectation of anything in return. May the Lord bless and have mercy on this faithful servant.
Approximately 100 people have been arrested in raids across Bangkok today and more successive raids could follow. Many of those arrested are recognized refugees protected under International law.
The raids are a result of Thailand’s Immigration policy to eliminate illegal immigrants within the country. Unfortunately refugees and asylum seekers are also considered illegal as Thailand has not ratified the UNHCR Refugee treaty. Their asylum cases filed with the UNHCR, nor their UNHCR asylum cards are not considered by the government.
“Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan yesterday instructed Pol Maj-General Surachate Hakparn, Thailand’s acting Immigration Bureau chief to crack down on foreigners overstaying their visas…….”
This recent news report, read here, shows that the Thai Immigration authorities have increased their crackdown and will continue to raid and arrest illegals for the coming month. Unfortunately, our brothers in Christ will be affected and suffer even more.
Please continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ and that God may be with them through this difficult time.
Some are asking why the Thailand authorities would do something like this. Thailand, a popular tourist hot spot, had been one of the major destinations for Christians fleeing persecution in Pakistan. But many came without the full knowledge of the dangers that lie ahead. Thailand, not being a signatory of the UN 1951 Refugee Convention, regularly arrests asylum seekers and refugees. They are not distinguished from other immigrants, legal or illegal, even having UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) documents. In Thailand, all immigrants without valid documents are seized by the authorities and detained in the Immigration Detention Center (IDC). Often times, those arrested are first taken to the Central Jail and incarcerated along side those convicted of murder, rape and other serious crimes. We are expecting bail will be needed to keep many out of the Central Jail, approx. $100-$200 U.S. depending on the Judge. We are hoping for the ability to keep some from going to this dangerous place. However, this does not prevent them from being detained in the IDC.
At this time, bail is being denied for those in the IDC. They are forced to stay in it’s horrid conditions until they choose to self-deport. Hundreds are in the notorious Immigration Detention Center and some living in the deplorable situation for several years. The Immigration Detention Center is designed to hold about 50 detainees at a time. We approximate that before the latest raids there were 180 Pakistani’s, not including other nationalities, being held in the IDC. These large numbers lead to lack of space, sanitation and serious health concerns. They are at risk of contracting highly infectious diseases such as, tuberculosis, skin infections, among other air/water borne illnesses. They’re malnourished due to a diet of nothing more than mix of soupy rice and cucumber. Babies and children are not offered milk and they solely relying on outside help to sustain them.
Please pray for them to remain steadfast in holding onto their faith. VOP is on the ground in Thailand. Join hands with us to spread the love of Jesus. Please consider helping our mission to cover these expenses and donate, today. Nutritional items, baby milk and diapers will be high on the list of needs. We may not be able to cover all expenses, but let us cover as many as we can! Your donations, whether large or small, aid in our ability to carry out this mission and are gratefully appreciated by our persecuted family. Go with us to Thailand through your blessings to share with these dear brothers and sisters who have suffered so much. Keep us in your prayers as we try to raise the needed funds for the relief mission.
HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED
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!