It highlights the agonizing truth of their plight
By Sheraz Khan, South Asia Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
GLASGOW, UK (ANS — September 7, 2017) — Global Minorities Alliance (GMA), a UK based human rights organisation has published a fact-finding report on Monday, September 4, 2017, that highlight the plight of the Pakistani Christians who arrive in Thailand after having fled persecution in Pakistan.
According to a press release sent to ANS by GMA, the charity’s report is titled: Are Christians in Pakistan persecuted? A case study of Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Bangkok, Thailand.
Last year, the press release said, the UK Home Office argued in its Pakistan Country Guidance Report that Christians in Pakistan are not persecuted but are rather discriminated against.
It stated that the GMA report is based on the interviews with 40 Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Bangkok, Thailand, as well as on the charity’s communication with the United Nations Human Rights Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and faith-based organisations.
The release stated that the interviews were conducted by Shahid Khan and Rebecca Gebauer, GMA’s trustees and authors of the report, in July last year.
It went on to say: “GMA was amongst the 27 UK-based rights groups, who were invited by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Freedom of Religion and Belief, (APPG), a parliamentary group which advocates religious freedom and belief.
“The APPG subsequently presented its report to the Home Office after having included the input from the 27 UK based rights organisations”, said the press release.
Mr. Khan was one of the delegates at the APPG hearing session.
The press release then quoted Mr. Khan as saying at the APPG’s hearing session that the treatment meted out to the Christians of Pakistan fulfils the criteria of persecution according to Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Mr. Khan argued that at the APPG’s hearing session the Christians in Pakistan who come to the UK after having faced persecutory incidents in Pakistan should be given a “group” recognition’ in the United Kingdom.
The press release quoted Miss Gebauer as saying that the charity’s research highlights the plight of Pakistani Christians who arrive in Thailand after having faced extreme persecution in Pakistan and then unfortunately face “double persecution” upon their arrival in Thailand.
Ms. Gebauer was quoted as saying that Pakistani persecuted Christians find themselves in deeper trouble in Thailand as the country is not a signatory to the 1951 refugee convention.
“The families we met in Bangkok had little or no support,” she said. “They cannot work legally there. They had no money to rent housing neither did they have enough money to buy food. They live under perpetual fear of being detained by the Thai police”.
The press release quoted an unnamed Pakistani Christian asylum seeker man in Thailand as saying that he had been tortured for 14 days by the Pakistani police over a false allegation.
“The police officials beat me up with a club,” he said. “I had injuries to my head, ankles and knee joints. I was later released. My family is in Pakistan. I feel I have been deserted and there is nobody there to help me exit the situation I find myself in.
“I fear I will be sent back to Pakistan and my life will be worse than it is now”
The press release also quoted Dr. Elham Manea, an Associate Professor of Political Science and a human rights activist, as saying: “GMA’s report provides compelling evidence on the systematic and structural discrimination against Christians in their home country and highlights the miserable conditions they are facing in Thailand”.
The charity’s report consists of four chapters and provides comprehensive insight into the refugee crisis in Thailand. The released added that the report highlights the situation of the Pakistani Christian asylum-seekers in Thailand.
“I hope that this admirable report is read by legislators, and policy makers around the world so that the question of religious violence can be tackled in Pakistan honouring the principles on which Pakistan was founded and its constitution established respecting all citizens, regardless of their religious faith”, the press release quoted Lord David Alton of Liverpool as saying.
According to the press release, GMA, on Monday, September 4, 2017, presented its report to Carol Monaghan, MP, who it was reported that she supported the ethos of Global Minorities Alliance which is based on justice, peace and equality.
“The MP commended the efforts of GMA for its efforts to promote religious freedom and human rights for all persecuted minorities around the world,” added the press release.
Editor’s note: The GMA’s report is available via this link: http://www.globalminorities.co.uk/gma-reports/report-2016-17
GMA’s submissions to the group can be accessed by vising this link: https://freedomdeclared.org/media/GMA-Recommendations-FINAL.pdf
Photo captions: Left to Right: Shahid Khan, Carol Monaghan MP, and Manassi Bernard during a meeting in Glasgow, Scotland. 2) Thai police round up a group of Pakistani asylum seekers. 3) Pakistani asylum seekers under arrest in Thailand. 4) Sheraz Khan.
About the writer: Sheraz Khan is a Pakistani-British journalist. He lives in Scotland and can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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