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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.

Killing Spree: Deadly Month for Christians in Pakistan

 

Voice of the Persecuted Asian correspondent update report—Pakistan is the fifth most difficult country to live as a Christian, yet millions thrive and worship their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. April has been a brutal month for Pakistani Christians. ISIS has been on spree of kill and run incidents in Quetta where Christians have been targeted and killed for their faith.

ISIS killings in Quetta

In the beginning of April, four Christians were targeted in the Pakistani city of Quetta, provincial capital of Balochistan province in Western Pakistan. Two men on motorcycle fired at a rickshaw carrying four family members. Three members of the family and the rickshaw driver were instantly killed but a child survived the attack and was quickly rushed to the hospital. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

While the community was still in shock, ISIS struck again on April 15th, 2018. Four men on motorcycles fired and killed two men in the neighborhood of Essa Nagri in Quetta. Three including two girls were injured and taken to the hospital.Asm Yaqoob, a 25 year old from Sialkot, was attacked on 17th April, 2018. Her Muslim suitor, Rizwan Gujjar wanted her to convert to Islam and marry him. Upon constant refusals, Rizwan Gujjar attacked her on April 17th throwing acid and dousing her in petrol and setting her alight. She was moved to Lahore’s Mayo Hospital with third degree burns which affected 90% of her body. After fighting for her life for over a week, she succumbed to her injuries on Monday, April 23rd. Her family not only suffers the heartbreak of her death, but now find themselves in financial hardship. Asm was the only bread winner in the family of 10.2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the food fight, I have finished the race, I have kept my faith. ”

Asma indeed lived according to this verse and kept her faith till the end.

Asma isn’t the only victim to this brutality. Every year about 700 Christian girls are kidnapped, raped and forcefully converted to Islam and unwillingly married to Muslim men.

Violence against women and girls—including rape, murder through so-called honor killings, acid attacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage—remained routine. Pakistani human rights NGOs estimate that there are about 1,000 “honor killings” every year” —Human Rights Watch, 2017 report

Despite the reports, UNHCR continues to reject Pakistani Christians asylum seekers at an unprecedented rate stating that it’s safe for them to return in Pakistan. In the month of April, over 20 Pakistani Christian families have been refused and their files closed by the UNHCR in Thailand. It’s appalling that the UN believes their safety isn’t a concern in Pakistan.

May God open their eyes and give them passion to understand the plight of His people.

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 enormously. 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

Please pray for Pakistani Christians

Iranian Christians safe if ‘practise faith discreetly’ – European Court of Human Rights

Activists in the Swiss capital of Bern raise awareness of religious persecution of Christians around the world (2014). (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

(World Watch Monitor) The European Court of Human Rights ruled last month that an Iranian who sought asylum in Switzerland based on religious grounds could be deported to his home country because his life was not in danger, despite various reports detailing how Iran persecutes religious minorities and converts to Christianity.

Human Rights advocate Ewelina Ochab, in an article for Forbes Magazine, called it “another blow to the victims of religious persecution”.

The court said “Mr. A” did not have reason to expect torture or to fear for his life, as long as he didn’t pose a threat to the Iranian government and “practise[d] his faith discreetly”.

But quoting from various reports that provide evidence and detail stories of religious persecution in Iran, Ochab said: “It is concerning how the Swiss authorities concluded that converts ‘who practised their faith discreetly, did not face a real risk of ill-treatment upon their return’… The only reasonable conclusion is that by ‘practising faith discreetly’, the Swiss authorities meant not practising faith at all, as the practice requires some degree of manifestation and … this practice is significantly limited if not impossible in Iran”.

Ochab concluded that “the way in which the issue of religious persecution has been dealt with by the Swiss authorities and by the ECtHR shows that religious persecution continues to be misunderstood and neglected”.

Meanwhile an Iranian bishop in Tehran has faced criticism for his claims that Christians in Iran “have freedom of religion”.

“The Islamic government grants its Christian citizens every right to practise their faith, including observing their feasts such as Christmas,” Sibo Sarkisian, Armenian-Orthodox Bishop of Tehran, told Spanish news agency EFE. “They’re just not allowed to share their faith publicly, as it is forbidden under the Islamic government’s law.”

Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran, said that “while the Iranian Constitution recognises Christians as an official religious minority, the state continues to persecute believers of the faith, especially converts”.

‘Your problem’

Amnesty International reported last year on the large numbers of Afghan asylum-seekers sent home from European nations, which Amnesty accused of being “wilfully blind” to the risks they face “of serious human rights violations”. It said religious minorities and converts to Christianity face additional risks.

In August an Iranian convert to Christianity was refused asylum in Sweden after she was told by migration board officials that it was her “personal life” and “not our problem if you decided to become a Christian; it’s your problem”.

Aideen Strandsson (who took a Swedish name) said a Swedish migration official told her it wouldn’t be as bad for her in Iran as she is expecting because “it would only be six months in prison”, and, in her words, for the official that was “no problem”.

Determine the ‘real converts’

The challenge for the authorities and also church leaders is to determine the “real” converts among asylum seekers, over those only pretending to help their case.

In September World Watch Monitor reported how Afghan and Iranian asylum-seekers in Germany were finding shelter in churches and how many of them were becoming Christians in the process. According to the Washington Post, “conversion is both a side-effect of church relief and a potential advantage for rejected asylum-seekers, who can claim deeper need for asylum if they are at risk of religious persecution in their home country”.

Meanwhile the Federal German Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has been accused of wrongly rejecting asylum claims, where the applicant’s path to conversion had only taken a few months. German MP Volker Beck also criticised the Office for ruling that weekly church attendance did not amount to evidence of religious conversion, the German daily Handelsblatt reported. Beck accused the BAMF of considering itself more qualified than a parish priest to judge the authenticity of a person’s stated beliefs, based only on a two-hour interview.

A UK Parliamentary group in 2016 reviewed how the UK Home Office processes asylum-seekers’ claims. It found that, too often, “officials are asking about Bible trivia, rather than probing what someone really believes. And this lack of understanding of religion and belief is leading to the wrong people being rejected – meaning they could be forced out when they have genuinely been persecuted”. UK Home Office guidelines have been reviewed in light of the report.

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

Croatian government urged not to expel Iranian Christians

(World Watch Monitor) Activists and representatives of the Croatian Baptist Church are urging the state not to deport Christian asylum-seekers to Iran, saying they could face serious consequences because of their faith, reports Balkan Insight.

Iran is known to be a country where living as a Christian is difficult, especially for those who have converted from Islam. It is ranked eighth on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Late last year, Iranian and European human-rights and religious-rights organisations urged the international community to hold the Iranian government to account over its treatment of Christian converts. In their letter, they detailed what they described as “a pattern” of treatment by the Iranian authorities that included arrests, interrogations, detention, raids on churches and harassment by security agents. They also mentioned the ongoing trial of four converts – including Youcef Nadarkhani, a church leader previously sentenced to death for apostasy.

Croatia is one of the nations that saw thousands of refugees and migrants cross its borders in 2015/2016 and remains a transit country, according to Amnesty International. Most refugees and migrants have set their eyes on going further West. And it is in the migrant camps of Europe, like the so-called former “Jungle” camp near Calais, where the Christian presence hidden in Iran is becoming visible.

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.

16176622_10205951643429659_1892473625_n

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.

 

Child of Persecuted Family is Very Sick—Can You Give Him Hope?

Christian child in desperate need of medical care.

Christian child in desperate need of medical attention.

(Voice of the Persecuted) 10 yr. old John and his Christian family fled severe persecution for their faith in Pakistan to seek refuge and asylum in Thailand. But sadly, they’ve lived in misery, fear and sickness for over two years in a system that’s failing them. They still have another year before their UNHCR case interview, but there is no guarantee this scheduled appointment will take place. It’s common for case reviews to be postponed for another year and often postponed again. John’s father is a diabetic who also suffers hypertension (high blood pressure). He grieves for his children as he legally has no way to provide shelter, nutrition and the medical care they so desperately need. The family holds the UNHCR asylum certificate, but the children cannot even attend school because they are considered illegal immigrants by the Thai government. Thailand has been unwilling to work through the asylum process with the UNHCR. It’s a dreadful situation for the victims, particularly Pakistani Christians.

Child suffering from lack of medical treatment, hospitaiized. Photo: Voice of the Persecuted

Voice of the Persecuted

Most asylum seekers cannot afford to purchase the necessary hygiene products and nutritious food needed in their diet to stay well. The children lack the necessary nutrients to grow and remain healthy. Whole families hide out in their cramped, one room apartments with no sunlight to stay out of sight of the authorities. Anytime they leave, they’re at risk of arrest and the Immigration Detention Center, a vile, despicable place! It is no wonder they are prone to sickness in these conditions.

John and his siblings are extremely thin. Their case is on our critical list. The boy has suffered illness after illness since arriving in Thailand. Last year, he spent 10 days in the hospital being treated for a severe infection due to a parasite. Voice of the Persecuted covered the cost of his treatment and hospital stay. You may recognize him from our prior report. As the photo shows, he is plagued yet again by another infection on the back of his head. We are also extremely concerned by the news that he has developed a large lump on his neck. This child must be seen by a doctor right away, but we need your help! This family is also in dire need of a monthly sponsor, but no one has stepped forward as yet.

Contact us for more information about sponsorship at: info@voiceofthepersecuted.org

In nearly every disaster or crisis, we have seen Christian missions as the backbone of relief efforts. Often, the only relief victims ever see comes from Christians shining the light in darkest hours (remember Haiti). In a world afraid of looking intolerant, suffering Christians who are likely the most vulnerable,  have been pushed to the back burner. That’s why Voice of the Persecuted is serving the persecuted and children like John. We are united with them in Christ our Lord, but we too are failing them. Sadly, the Church as a whole is lacking. What would Jesus want us to do for our brothers and sisters suffering for his sake? The answer is easy, “Love and care for your brothers and sisters.”

This child is counting on us. If he has help when he’s hungry or ill, his chances of being scarred by long suffering in Thailand drops significantly. It is a great time of crisis for this family. The world is not offering this young boy any hope.  But in Christ, as his hands and feet, we can! Help us to give John the medical attention he needs and a new day with a healthy start. The opportunity to experience the love of the Body, to be encouraged and see God answer his prayers. When generous people like you offer aid through your financial gifts, you go with us into the trenches and lives are saved. And even in the greatest of trials, their future looks brighter and the Lord is praised. Oh, how is He praised!

If you or your church can help with his medical care or would like to sponsor this family, please don’t delay. We are a small mission and unable to provide the ongoing monthly needs of the many families asking for help. This family has acutely suffered while waiting for a sponsor for over a year.

Please pray

  • For persecuted Christian families suffering in Thailand.
  • For this child to quickly heal and stay free of disease. That he will never again have go to bed hungry.
  • Pray he and his family will be blessed with a sponsor who can help them survive.
  • Pray for all Christian asylum seekers in Thailand. That the government will 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 and worship our our freely and 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

Investigating The Invisibles: Pakistsani Christian Asylum Seekers In Thailand

pakistan-seekers-invisibles1

(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.

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

 

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