VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Category Archives: Thailand

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Christian asylum seekers told to stay away from churches or risk arrest

Pakistani Christian asylum seekers forced to remain hidden or risk arrest

Voice of the Persecuted Asian correspondent (26 May 2018)— Thai Immigration and Tourist police resorted to yet another inhumane tactic targeting illegal migrants. On Sunday, May 20th, police went to all English speaking churches in Bangkok to check for people leaving and entering churches, in an attempt to arrest illegal migrants.

Five churchgoers were arrested from Silom district in Bangkok. All five were young Pakistani asylum seekers, mostly teenagers. They were heading to an Urdu church when they were stopped, then taken to the Immigration Detention Center. After some hours, they were released, miraculously, and were able to be reunited with their family.

A pastor from one of the English-speaking churches sent an email to the refugees attending the church warning them to stay away from the church during the week. The pastor wrote,

“………It seems that for this week at least, you need to be very careful and keep well away from any of the Bangkok churches. Therefore, we will cancel Thai and English lessons on Thursday this week. Other churches with similar groups are doing the same thing. 
We will wait and see what happens before talking about next Sunday……..”

Last year, Thai authorities began a crackdown naming it ‘Operation Black Eagle’. Many illegal foreigners have been arrested since then, which also includes some refugees and asylum seekers. Many were arrested in November 2017. See VOP report

Please pray for our brothers and sisters as this is yet another attack by the devil to subdue them and keep them from worshiping Jesus. Also, Sunday is the only day when the families get an opportunity to get away from their hideous single room apartments. Not having a break from their harsh existence can be devastating.

VOP is on the ground in Thailand. Please Join hands with us to spread the love of Jesus. Help bring relief to those suffering in and out of Thailand’s IDC. Please consider our mission and donate, today. Go with us to Thailand through your blessings  to share with these dear brothers and sisters who have suffered so much. God bless you and your families.

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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

Donations always desperately needed.

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Pakistani Christians seeking refuge from persecution in crisis

Christian child arrested with mother who holds a UNHCR asylum certificate in Bangkok. Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

(Voice of the Persecuted) 2018 is here and many have started the year with resolutions to do well. We live in a society where we have the freedom to think, speak, pursue our dreams of what we’d like to be and most importantly, believe in our God without fear of persecution. On the other side of the world, there are many who don’t have these freedoms.

Thailand, a country famous for it’s glitzy tourist destination has been at the forefront of persecuting Christians. Thousands of Christians from Pakistan escaped severe persecution to Thailand and have ended up in a whirlpool of crisis. According to World Watch List 2018, Pakistan Is The 6th most difficult country to live as a Christian.

Many Pakistani Christians are living in Bangkok are in a dire situation. They stay in hideous conditions, often times a whole family in cramped single room apartments. Food is scarce and Thailand as made it nearly impossible for them to make ends meet.

Pakistani Christian asylum seekers at risk of arrest

Approximately 150 Pakistani Christians are being held in the Immigration Detention Center (IDC), including men, women and children. On January 23, 2018 another raid took place and 7 children,  4 women and 2 men were arrested from their apartment building at Onnut Soi 54 in Bangkok. They increase the numbers of brothers and sisters who are already inside, some for a long period of time, even years. Please pray for them as they continue to battle the dilapidated conditions of the slums and the prison called, the IDC. Also, pray for them as they share the Good News of the Gospel to the lost in the detention center.

What is IDC?

IDC is the Immigration Detention Center which is located in the heart of Bangkok near a string of embassy buildings. It is designed as a transit place for people to return to their homeland due to violation of visas. They are not equipped with proper sanitation and about 30 people can stay in the one room/cells. Making matters worse, they are being cramped with quadruple the maximum number of people per cell. The diet their offered consists solely of a watery cucumber/rice soup. Not even the babies or children are given milk products. It’s no wonder they suffer from malnutrition, weakness and susceptible to the many illnesses, skin infections and parasites inside the IDC. They rely only on those caring enough and able to deliver the proper nutrition items they need.

Pakistani Christian asylum seekers held in detention center like cattle.

VOP message to our suffering brothers and sisters.

However, there is a glimmer of hope for these detainees. They can receive necessary food items and hygiene products from visitors. That is also the only time they’re permitted to leave their cell and meet with someone from the outside world. Often, some detainees are unable to get any visitations for several weeks, or even months. Voice of the Persecuted has initiated support for the brothers and sisters suffering inside the Immigration Detention Center. We intend to send in more food, hygiene products and the much-needed sundry items not offered to them by the

IDC. Your donations, whether large or small, aid in our ability to carry out this mission and highly appreciated by our persecuted family. Thanks to your help, we were able to give them some relief during the Christmas season. Please pray and share this with your church and others. Help share the light of Christ and bring a moment of joy for those inside.

This sweet little one was sheltered and nourished because of your love!

VOP is on the ground in Thailand. Please Join hands with us to spread the love of Jesus. Keep us in your prayers as we try to raise the needed funds for the relief mission. If you feel led to help, please consider our mission and donate, today. Go with us to Thailand through your blessings  to share with these dear brothers and sisters who have suffered so much. God bless you and your families.

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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

In the midst of Evil: Christian describes how they endure persecution

 Being a Christian has never been easy. It has brought suffering, pain and persecution for those who stand firm in their faith. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” John 15:18. Despite the challenges and hurdles, Christianity has grown over the centuries and the Bible holds wonderful promises for the ones who are suffering; “Blessed are those who are persecuted.” Matthew 5:11

(Voice of the Persecuted) Pakistan is a nation which persecutes Christians and is known as the 4th most dangerous country to be a Christian. The blasphemy law is used as a tool to settle personal vendettas against Pakistani Christians. It’s a place where Christians can be lynched publicly upon false religious allegations. Thousands of minority girls are kidnapped, raped and forcibly converted to Islam. Christians in Pakistan live in fear, many afraid to even speak with Muslims about their faith.

Thailand, a popular tourist hot spot, has been one of the major destinations for Christians fleeing persecution in Pakistan. But they fled to Thailand without the full knowledge of the dangers that lie ahead. Thailand, not being a signatory of the UN refugee rights convention, regularly arrests asylum seekers and refugees. The nation considers them to be illegal migrants despite them having UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) documents. Hundreds are in the notorious Immigration Detention Center and have been living in a deplorable situation for several years. The Immigration Detention Center is designed to hold about 50 detainees at a time. Presently, there are close to 200 people which leads 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 rice and cucumber soup. Please pray for them to remain steadfast in holding onto their faith.

Pakistani Christian asylum seekers brought to court caged in police vans.

“Faith in Christ plays an important role in the life of a persecuted Christian”

Many have been wondering if they could endure the atrocities our brothers and sisters suffer in restricted nations. Christian Malik, our Thailand representative, knows the hardships of persecution very well. He recently shared about the role faith plays in his life and that of other Christian refugees. Last month, during Q&A on our November prayer conference call event, one of the participants asked what advice he had for those in the west when persecution comes knocking at our door. He told us,

“Faith is all that is keeping us alive. In Thailand, every second holds an uncertainty about the future. One second, we might be free, the next second we might be behind bars. Under such circumstances, we pray and ask God for his mighty intervention in our lives and to keep us protected from all harm and danger. We are not allowed to work here which means we are unsure about securing food and other necessities for our daily needs, but our Father in Heaven is mighty and has great promises for us.

Matthew 7:11 mentions, ‘If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!’ Amen. Our Father in Heaven is indeed merciful and gracious.  He provides for us from His riches. The bible states, ‘Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’ When we are need, we ask God, we seek, and we find it. We knock at the door and it is opened for us. There has never been a time when God denied, He provides for us according to His time.

Faith in Christ makes things possible, not easy. We know the journey will be hard, but we have surety from God that it would be possible. In the dictionary of Faith, the word impossible doesn’t exist. Our God is a living God and He never leaves us alone. The suffering in Thailand has brought us closer to God and our lives here have become a living sacrifice.”

Persecution always results in the dispersion of believers and the spread of Christianity. Persecution will grow the Church in the 21st century as well. “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews.” (Acts 11:19).”

VOP message on IDC relief package

This Christmas, let’s stand strong with our brothers and sisters and uphold them in our prayers. Let us also bless them with their needs as faith without deeds is incomplete. “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2: 15-17

VOP is on the ground in Thailand. This Christmas, join hands with us to spread the love of Jesus. We’re planning an outreach for a large number of asylum seekers and refugees in Bangkok. We have only 4 days left to deliver Christmas relief packages, much needed supplies and nutrition to those suffering in the notorious IDC, Immigration Detention Center.

Keep us in your prayers as we try to raise the needed funds to complete this Christmas mission. If you feel led to help, please consider our mission and donate, today. Go with us to Thailand through your blessings to share the joy of Christmas with these dear brothers and sisters who have suffered so much. God bless you and your families. May your Christmas be filled with much joy as you celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, our dear Lord and Savior.

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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

Donations always desperately needed

Pakistani Christian family arrested during publicized raid by the Thai Authorities

Thai immigration authorities bring along journalists during raid targeting refugees and asylum seekers.

(Voice of the Persecuted) November 21, 2017- This morning, VOP was notified that the Thai immigration police raided a condominium in Inthamara 44, Soi Pracha Suk, Din Daeng Distrcit in Bangkok and arrested a Pakistani Christian family.

Mr. Asif Ghouri, his wife along with their 3 grown children, son (Alisha Asif) and two daughters (Rebecca and Jasmine), were arrested during the raid around 3pm (local time).

Mr. Asif was surprised with a knock on the door and when they opened it, the officers were there along with journalists to record their arrest. The family was asked to show proof of identity, either passports or UNHCR cards. Their case had been dismissed by the UNHCR in the mid of 2017, hence their cards had been taken away. The UNHCR deemed they would be safe in Pakistan despite it being the 4th most dangerous country for Christians.

The police pressured them into showing proof of their identity. Mr. Asif had no choice but to give them their passports with no updated visas to stay in Thailand as they were living with UNHCR cards since 2014. Ultimately, the family was taken to the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) where they will live in misery and despair, fed nothing but a soupy mixture of cucumber and boiled rice. Based on the UNHCR decision in their case, the family won’t have any chance of being resettled to another country as all UNHCR portals would be inaccessible. They have no other option than to wait while fighting the feelings of hopelessness in finding freedom soon.

The IDC already hosts about 150 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers and refugees. Their arrest would make matters worse as they will have to struggle for space inside. Last month, about 35 refugees from Pakistan and Somalia were arrested from Bangkok including 12 children and 7 unaccompanied minors.

The Thai government claims it to be a crackdown on illegal people who are illegally employed. However, our correspondent in Thailand confirms that neither Mr. Asif nor the 35 arrested last month were working illegally in Thailand. This situation is truly alarming and the people need your prayers.

The actions by the Thai government should be condemned. The issue should be brought to the MPs to do more to bring the persecuted brothers and sisters to the United States and other countries. These countries should also step up to condemn this brutal act against our brothers and sisters in Christ.

UPDATE Dec. 4, 2017:  

Elias Asif ( arrestrd with the family last week) Fiaz Masih ( arrested from Pratunam Market, Phaya Thai District) Asher Ryan ( arrested from outside his apartment at Vivid Tower Pattanakarn 54 district Suan luang).

Two more Pakistani Christians were arrested on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017

VOP representative includes a message for our suffering brothers and sisters in the IDC

Please remember Pakistani Christian refugees seeking asylum in Thailand. Day by day, their situation grows more volatile with greater risks of arrest.

VOP is on the ground in Thailand. 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. Please consider our mission, this Christmas, to help  care for a family and bring much needed supplies and nutrition to those suffering in the notorious IDC.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

Donations always desperately needed

Persecuted Christians pressured to return to homeland under threat of persecution

Christian asylum seeker worries for 1 yr. old son born in Thailand

 

Bangkok Thailand (Voice of the Persecuted)  – Pakistani Christians fleeing persecution face much discrimination receive little help while seeking asylum through the UNHCR. Instead of a reprieve, most are living in horrid conditions with little to no support. They are unable to legally work and therefore unable to shelter or feed themselves or their children. Cries of hunger from the little ones is a heartbreaking reality for many parents. Their poor children are not even allowed to attend school.

Pakistani Christian asylum seekers at risk of arrest

Thailand is not a signatory to the 1951 refugee convention and considers these asylum seekers, who hold UNHCR asylum seeker cards, as being illegals in the country. The are live in constant fear of being arrested and sent to the IDC, or worse, the Central Jail. Imagine years of going through this process waiting to be approved and sent to a host country. High blood pressure and depression is common even for young adults.

Many Pakistani Christians in Thailand are now being denied asylum status. When the UNHCR denies asylum, the applicant is given 30 days to appeal against the decision or their case file is automatically closed. If they decide to appeal, then their cards are extended for another year.  If the applicant decides not to appeal, then they must file an application in writing to be repatriated which they can do through the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who are accepting applications for those with active and closed files that want to repatriate.

Jackson, his wife and their 1 yr. old son, who was born in Thailand, is a family who had received support through Voice of the Persecuted’s relief program. Sadly are going back to Pakistan. After a series of devastating events, the couple made the very hard choice to leave Thailand and return to Pakistan. The UNHCR had recently denied their application for refugee status and told them it was safe for them to return despite the heavy impetus of ongoing persecution against Christians in Pakistan.

The family was extremely disappointed with the decision and did not want to go back as they feared for their lives in their homeland. Despite the UNHCR’s rejection, they were determined to stay in Thailand and appeal the denial. However, they were forced to review their decision when Jackson was called back to the Thai Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) on 31st August 2017.

Along with other asylum seekers, Jackson was arrested when Bangkok police and Thai immigration authorities carried out raids in March 2015. He went through a harrowing experience of staying in Central Jail with hardened criminals then subsequently moved to the IDC. He had been on a bail bond of 50,000 THB ($1500) since August 2015. He was required to report every 2 weeks to the Immigration Detention Center (IDC) and he had been punctual in doing so. In March 2017, his bail was in jeopardy as the IDC was in conflict with UNHCR. The IDC issued a notification that the bails of those who had not received refugee status from the UNHCR would be cancelled. At that time, approximately 200 asylum seekers were on bail. Like them, Jackson was still waiting for the status result and told to return to the IDC.

Miraculously, some charities and the UNHCR negotiated with the IDC to extend the deadline so the UNHCR would have more time to assess the cases. Unanimously it was decided that the IDC would extend its deadline till August 2017 and in return the UNHCR would give results of all those on bail. It is disturbing to note since then, all except one have been denied refugee status by UNHCR. Upon appeal, most have had their files closed and their UN identity cards confiscated. The closure of their UNHCR asylum file automatically gives the IDC the right to cancel the bail. However, Jackson’s case remained active because, in fear for his family’s situation, he never appealed against the UNHCR’s decision. He feared that the UNHCR would close their case if they appealed, so they requested for return tickets from the IOM instead.

The return process was also not easy for them. They needed travel documents to return. Jackson’s passport had been confiscated by the IDC and his son didn’t have a passport as he was born in Thailand. Jackson had to go to the Pakistan Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand where embassy officials treated him with disgust and humiliated him by calling him a traitor.

Jackson cried and told them that he had 1-year old son and asked them to have pity on him. The officials asked him to give a copy of his UN cards and told him to write in the application that he felt safe returning to Pakistan. Under pressure, he felt he had to write as they asked. We believe the Government of Pakistan will use such applications at an international level to prove its innocence despite its World Watch List status of the

VOP representative includes a message for our suffering brothers and sisters in the IDC

4th worst country to live as a Christian.

The young father pleaded to the Immigration to extend his bail by 4 more days as he had return tickets for this month, but they didn’t listen to him. He was put in the IDC while his wife remained outside with their son. They too have confirmed tickets. Jackson would be taken to the airport from the IDC and his wife travel alone with her son. She was also expected to pay 20,000 THB ($614) or else she would not be allowed to embark the flight. Because she evaded arrest during her stay in Thailand, the penalty of staying illegally in Thailand must be paid before she could leave. If the fine couldn’t be paid, she would have to stay, with her son, in the IDC for over 1 week before being allowed to leave the country. She feared her 1-year old son might contract a skin infection or other contagious diseases. Graciously, a Thai citizen paid her fine and airfare for the family. We are grateful for their compassion.

By Christian, VOP Asian Correspondent

“Blessed are those that are persecuted.” Matthew 5:11 

This appalling situation has forced ‘our brother and sister’ to make this high-risk decision. Our hearts are hurting for them and our prayers go with them.

Once in Thailand, the family will move to another province in effort to be safe from their persecutors, but there is no guarantee that they would ever be safe.

Please keep them in your prayers as they wanted to stay but were stuck in whirlpool of problems in Thailand’s harsh system which instigated their extremely hard choice to return.

VOP is on the ground in Thailand. 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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

Donations always desperately needed

 

Persecuted Christians in Thailand being denied asylum

Pakistani Christian asylum seekers brought to court caged in police van in Dec. 2015

(Voice of the Persecuted) The early church faced much persecution but continued to thrive; today, the persecution exists at an even greater scale.

Matthew 5:11 states, “Blessed are those that are persecuted.”

Many Pakistani Christians who’ve fled to Thailand are very familiar with ongoing aggressions against them. They’re stuck in a limbo after being sucked in a whirlpool of discrimination, persecution and incarceration, all due to their faith in Christ Jesus.

Thousands of persecuted Pakistani Christian brothers and sisters in Thailand sought refuge in UNHCR Thailand. After years of waiting and suffering the brutal incarceration in the Immigration Detention Centre, many of them have been rejected by the UNHCR, with very little chance of getting refugee status through appeals.

Two of our families, that have been part of the Voice of the Persecuted relief project in Thailand, were recently rejected by the UNHCR. Many of you may remember John, a little boy who was brought to us malnourished and very sick. His family has been rejected based on what the UNHCR considers insufficient information to explain the level of threat they would have faced if they had stayed in Pakistan. John’s family maintains their stance of death upon return and have appealed against the decision of UNHCR with hopes of getting a positive result.

Jackson’s family was rejected in the beginning of June. They, like others who’ve been denied asylum, were given 30 days for appeal. The young father is on bail from the IDC and is worried that his appeal would be instantly cancelled and he would have to return to the IDC, estranged from his wife and 1-year old son. Jackson has made a very hard choice to go back to Pakistan as the UNHCR promised to give him airfare and $100 each if they decide to be repatriated. However, this offer would be void if Jackson appeals against the UNHCR decision.

Sadly, the majority of Christian asylum seekers have had little or no luck with their appeals. Majority of them have been rejected and their files have been closed, their UNHCR cards taken away and they are left hopeless to survive on their own in a ruthless country.

Before mid-2015, many Christians were freed on a bail bond of $1400 each, on reason for their registration with UNHCR and further conditions were added including ineligibility to work and reporting to the prison every 15 days. After the UNHCR started rejecting cases, for many it meant that their bails would be cancelled and they are required to return inside the IDC with their children and elders.

Many are opting to go back to Pakistan and risk their lives in a desperate effort to survive. In April, a woman named Asia Johnson sadly went back to Pakistan. Voice of the Persecuted had been able to pay her overstay fine in December 2015 and subsequently she was bailed with the help of another charity. Her appeal was refused and her cards were taken away, as a result, her bail was cancelled. She was given an ultimatum to return to the IDC with her 2 young daughters, the youngest being 6 years old. She described the IDC as hell and decided to move back to Pakistan. She has moved to another part of Pakistan in hopes of hiding from her persecutors. Since, she has been untraceable to us. We pray for her protection and safety as she could potentially face threats due to her faith in Christ. This is the story of hundreds of Pakistani Christians who have been re-persecuted by the UNHCR and are left with no choice than to go back to face persecution for their faith in Christ.

Please continue to keep our aid missions in your prayers. We have been trying to increase our mission in Thailand but are unable to do that without help. We have been sustaining support for Jacksonn’s and for John’s family as they fight for their claim to be approved, but we have been struggling to maintain ongoing funds for our families. Please pray for them. Continue to support our mission through your prayers.

God bless the persecuted church.

1 John 4:19 states, “We love because He first loved us.” Let us continue to share our love bestowed upon us through our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ.
God bless us all.

By our Asian correspondent

Join us during our 12-hour prayer conference call, today. We are expecting to speak with and pray with a Pakistani brother between

Time of the Call:

9 a.m.- 9 p.m. Eastern time

8 a.m.-8 p.m.  Central time

7 a.m.-7 p.m.  Mountain time

6 a.m.-6 p.m. Pacific time

Call number: 712.775.7035
Access code: 281207#

Please pray for persecuted Christian families suffering in Thailand. Pray the Thai government will soften their hearts towards them. And pray the UNHCR will find a way to speed up and fairly investigate the unbearably long process of their asylum cases.

VOP is on the ground in Thailand. 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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

Thailand: Pakistani Christian seeking asylum dies in notorious detention center

36 yr. old Ejaz Masih,, a Pakistani Christian, dies in Bangkok Immigration Detention Center (IDC).

By VOP Thailand Correspondent

(Voice of the Persecuted) On Saturday, 27th May 2017, 10am local time, Pakistani Christian, Ejaz Masih, better known as Ejaz Paras, lost his life in the notorious Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Bangkok, Thailand. He was arrested in June 2016  at his home near Seacon Square in Bangkok Thailand. His brother-in-law and sister in law were also arrested.

The 36 year old father of 3 (aged 11, 8 and 1 year old) had been inside the Immigration Detention Centre since his arrest. Mr. Ejaz’s death is the 3rd death inside the IDC, whereas dozens have died outside after going through the arduous asylum process which take years.

In communication with Ejaz’s family, our correspondent learned his wife had tried to bail her husband out, but authorities denied his bail. The IDC has been preventing bail for people from countries of concern, such as Pakistan, Syria and others including Sri lanka, after a terrorist attack took place at a Buddhist Shrine in Bangkok which killed 15 people in 2015. The Immigration Police reacted by closing bails for all detainees which previously had been the only way for refugees to be emancipated from the brutal incarceration inside Thailand’s notorious IDC.

Ejaz had been in Bangkok for over 3 years. He came with his extended family, including his in laws, when his wife’s cousin, Qaisar Ayub Bhatti, was accused of blasphemy. Mr. Bhatti, who was a Masters graduate in Computer Science, came to Thailand to seek asylum with UNHCR Thailand after he wrote what was consider blasphemous content by hardliners on a website he owned. The UNHCR scheduled his  asylum interview date in 2019. Frustrated by such a long delay, he decided to go back to Pakistan. When he landed in Pakistan, he was tracked by the police and arrested for blasphemy. Currently, Bhatti is in Chakwal Central jail awaiting his trial. Ejaz Paras faced similar threats and had also been chased by zealots. Since Bhatti had been immediately arrested, Ejaz was afraid to go back to Pakistan and face further persecution.

Ejaz had a history of heart disease. In October 2016, he began suffering chest pains and was taken to hospital where he stayed for 8 days. Shackled to the bed, he was allowed a single visit with his children. They were grateful as this it was  impossible at the IDC as they would not be allowed to visit their father. Upon his return to the IDC, Ejaz was asked to pay the hospital bills but he didn’t have a single penny with him. As a punishment for nonpayment, Ejaz was transferred to solitary confinement. A local priest helped to pay the hospital bills then Ejaz was sent back to the main cell, commonly known as Room #3.

On Saturday morning (May 27 2017), around 10am, Mr. Ejaz and other detainees were taken from their cell to an area designated for exhaustive exercise. All detainees are required to take part.

During the exercise, Mr. Ejaz complained to the prison guard of having severe chest pains and asked for immediate medical intervention. The prison guard ignored his plea as he thought that Mr. Ejaz is making excuses to avoid the exercise.

Seeing that his situation is getting worse, other detainees gathered 2000 Thai Baht so that Ejaz could be taken to the hospital. The officer denied every request and all detainees were sent to their cell where about 160 of them are incarcerated.

Ejaz went to the washroom to take a bath. Afterwards, he dressed and stepped outside the washroom, but immediately fell unconscious and urinated in his clothes. His tongue fell outside his mouth and he started to convulse. Seeing this, fellow Christians carried him away from washroom and a crowd gathered around him. The Immigration officers saw this in the CCTV camera fixed in the IDC cell and instantly sent a team, anticipating that a prison fight had broke out.

When the officers saw Ejaz convulsing in pain on the ground, they dragged him outside the cell and were not convinced he needed medical attention. After some time, they starting preparing the paper work to take him to the Hospital. However, since they delayed and allowed him to lay on the floor for 3 hours and the young father had already passed away before help was obtained. Later, his body was taken to the Police General Hospital and the autopsy revealed that he died of a heart attack.

Such a heartbreaking story. This young father’s death may have been prevented had the Immigration officers showed compassion. Instead, the officers  acted ruthlessly with no value for his life, a human life. This Christian brother died leaving his wife and children behind to suffer in this ruthless environment.

We trust that he would be with God as Ejaz had complete trust in our savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. St. Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” This brother indeed died as a martyr and has finished his race to be with our savior, Jesus Christ. He would be in the bosom of father Abraham. Revelation 14:13 states that, “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” “Yes.” Says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labor for their deeds will follow them.”

His body now needs to be sent back to Pakistan for burial which could cost an estimated $500 – $600. The family also needs moral and financial support as they find it hard to make the ends meet. Please uplift this family in prayer. Help to support them if you are able and pray that the children will one day find a better future.

Please pray for persecuted Christian families suffering in Thailand. Pray the Thai government will soften their hearts towards them. And pray the UNHCR will find a way to speed up the unbearably long process of their asylum cases.

VOP is on the ground in Thailand. 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.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

 

 

Persecuted Christian family suffering in hardship asks for prayer

Pakistani Christian asylum seeker children suffer in Thailand

Pakistani Christian asylum seeker children suffer in Thailand

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5: 1-5

(Voice of the Persecuted) Since the time of the 1st century Church, persecution and suffering for bearing the cross for Christ has never stopped. In fact, it has increased drastically since death of the first martyr, Stephen.

2017 World Watch List top 10 nations persecuting Christian

2017 World Watch List top 10 nations persecuting Christians

Pakistan is notoriously famous as a breeding ground for radical terrorism. Sporadic targeting of Pakistani Christians has made life miserable for the innocent. Over the years, rising persecution has claimed thousands of lives and continues to hang as a sword of Damocles over those who practice their faith in one of the world’s most hostile environments. According to the 2017 World Watch List, Pakistan ranked above Syria and Iraq as the 4th worst place to live as a Christian.

Youhanabad, a Christian colony in Lahore, Pakistan, was attacked by the Taliban in 2015. Worshippers were killed after 2 suicide bombers struck at 2 churches crowded with hundreds of church attendees.

This attack dramatically changed the lives of one family who were forced to flee their home and stay in hiding.

The persecution against Adnan’s family began after the 2015 suicide attack in the Christian colony where they lived. They had attended an early church service that day when terror engulfed their community. A suicide bomber detonated near the Church which curtailed the lives of at least twenty Christians and wounded dozens of church attendees. In an interview with the family, Adnan told Voice of the Persecuted,

“When we heard the blast, I asked my family to keep themselves in hiding. Fearing it was very close to where we live, I went with my brother to check the situation. We saw fragments and traces of blast, even human flesh and body parts scattered all over the area. It was horrifying. We saw angry victims and their loved ones running after the accomplices of the bomber and were beating them to stop them from escaping. Eventually, they were caught and badly beaten by the deeply upset and agitated Christians.”

Next day, the scenario was an extremely opposite of what was expected. Based on the footage taken by the media, the victims’ family members who caught the terrorists (who succumbed to their injuries) and those visible at the time of incident were now considered perpetrators and criminals.

“My brother and I were one of those who were seen in the footage and thus my brother went into hiding. But later, he was arrested and even now is still in jail.” He further explained, “Taunted by this, I feared most for the safety of my wife and two sons who at that time were only 3 and 1 years old. My wife had to leave her job as a teacher and as did I, a security guard at the bank.”

With any hope of living free quickly fading, they believed there was no choice but escape to Thailand to save their lives. Filled with hope and the dream of no longer living in terror, they arrived in Bangkok to seek asylum in September 2015. They were excited to start to new life strong in their faith, openly as true Christians without fear. However, things were not easy as expected. Fear and the safety of their children had brought them to another oppressive situation in Bangkok. Adnan, his wife and children are one of thousands of Pakistani Christian families hoping to gain asylum and begin a peaceful life in freedom.

Adnan’s asylum case and the UNHCR asylum certificate he holds is not recognized by the Thai government. After their visa’s expired, he had to make ends meet by illegally finding a work in a factory.  To support his family, Adnan had been left with no other option but to take temporary illegal work at a lesser wage with no insurance.

April 29, 2016 marked another critical ordeal for the family. While on the job, the father of two was hit by a fork lift that severly damaged his ankle. Doctors told Adnan that he needed a series of major surgeries which required a large sum of money.

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severe work injury prevents the ability to support family

His wife asked for help from practically everyone and even begged the factory owner for mercy and to support the medical expense of her husband’s severe injury. The factory owner paid a portion of the cost for surgeries, but the rest had to be borrowed from the factory owner and other non- asylum seeking individuals.

16215749_10205951643349657_706576410_nGradually, Adnan has begun to walk with the help of crutches, but to this date cannot walk properly. He and his family are burdened by the loan for the surgeries, and trying support basic survival needs for themselves and their children. It’s indeed hard with no recourse but to beg for help. Still, their is little to eat as support trickles in.

The family has appealed to the international Christian community to pray for and uplift them morally, spiritually and financially.  Our correspondent told us the father’s spirit is still high despite all the troubles in his life. Adnan recalls one bible verse from Roman 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  This verse gives him great hope and the courage to face another day.

Let us continue to remember and pray for this beleaguered family. Let us share our blessings and shine the light and love of Christ on them. Voice of the Persecuted is seeking sponsors to bring hope to our brothers and sisters suffering in Thailand. Unfortunately, we are unable to care for all the families on our waiting list. If you would like to sponsor a persecuted Christian family suffering through the asylum process, please set up a regular monthly payment and add in note section when donating, Pakistani Christians in Thailand. One-time gifts to this relief project is also welcome and greatly appreciated.

Example: A gift of $100 cover monthly food expenses and a portion of their room rent.

Please consider sponsoring Adnan and his family by adding his name to the note. Your gift of support blesses them with hope and means more than you could ever imagine.

Please pray

  • For persecuted Christian families suffering in Thailand.
  • For the children will never again have go to bed hungry.
  • Pray for sponsors who can help them survive.
  • Pray for the Thai government to have a change of heart.
  • That the UNHCR will expedite their interviews so they may go to a welcoming nation with the opportunity to provide for themselves, worship freely and live in peace.
  • Pray for the Lord to bless them with joy, to strengthen their faith and to feel His loving presence surround them.

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.

Donations are always desperately needed.

HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED

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!
You may also send your gift to:

2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183

Note: Voice of the Persecuted encourages Christians to refrain from violence at all costs.

 

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