We received wonderful news that Thai authorities opened up bails for medically vulnerable asylum seekers and mothers with children. Jubilee Campaign was able to assist in bailing out four Pakistani Christian asylum seekers. Those released included three mothers and a boy. Bangkok, Thailand has been the temporary home for an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 Pakistani Christians who fled religiously motivated persecution in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. These Christians and thousands of other asylum seekers from a number of countries have sought to apply for refugee resettlement with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bangkok. However, hopes for a swift hearing have been replaced by 4-5 years of waiting upon an overburdened UNHCR to provide a hearing date. Thailand has become increasing hostile to these asylum seekers, cracking down in 2015 with numerous raids during which authorities primarily arrest and detain mothers and small children into the cramped and squalid conditions of the Immigration Detention Center (IDC). Hope for release by the payment of $3,000 of bail per person was deferred when Thai authorities suspended bailouts since October 2015.
(Pictured above are two women Jubilee helped bail out.)
The decision to open up bails came after the death of another Pakistani Christian held at the IDC. Pervaiz Ghouri Masih, 53, passed away on January 10th after suffering with a tumor and reoccurring heart condition. The overcrowding, lack of nourishment, and unhygienic conditions of the detention center did not help his health. On January 6th, IDC wardens finally took him to the hospital after being detained since September 10th. However, exactly 4 months after Mr. Masih’s arrest, he lost his life to a heart attack.
Jubilee Campaign is also providing assistance for two more detainees to be released. Once bail is paid, the asylum seeker is protected from rearrest for two years. This is critical in order for the asylum seeker to have their appointment with the UNHCR and be resettled. If you would like to help Jubilee Campaign with providing bail for Pakistani Christian asylum seekers, please consider donating to the Christian Rescue Fund.
As always, please continue praying for the Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Bangkok. Pray that the hearts of the Thai authorities will soften, as they currently do not protect refugees.
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