Many Pakistani Christian refugees in Thailand received welcome news yesterday after the Thai government announced it would reopen a process by which refugees registered with the UNHCR would be able to receive bail. This bail would allow these Christian refugees to remain in Thailand, where the fled to due to persecution, for two years without having to be detained in an IDC. Reports of conditions in Thailand’s IDCs have shown the terrible conditions these refugees have to withstand to flee persecution.
07/12/2017 Pakistan (Pakistan Christian Post) – For almost two years, persecuted Pakistani Christians and Ahmadis, who make up over 50% of Thailand’s asylum seeker community, have been refused bail for overstaying their visa’s. For these individuals, this has meant an extremely difficult and stressful stay in Bangkok’s brutal Immigration Detention Centers (IDC). However, Thai authorities yesterday declared that bail would be granted to UNHCR registered asylum seekers and refugees similar in process to the bail system operated some years ago. The bail system reopens tomorrow and many hope to be able to initiate applications immediately.
After an initial very strong lobby in 2013, the Royal Thai Government initiated a bail system for asylum seekers and refugees in 2014. This involved payment of a substantial bail fee of 50,000 baht ($1,467.00) for a two-year bail, which could be renewed for free after the initial period was up. However, the Thai government decided to close the bail system around two years ago, excepting individuals with a serious provable medical conditions. Worse still, in June last year, the Thai government then decided to terminate bail for all individuals, including those with medical conditions, resulting in three preventable deaths.
The most recent death was after 36-year-old Ijaz Masih predicted his own death after being denied medication and medical assistance for some months, and feeling the rapid decline of his health in his dying hours.