Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Thailand have started receiving temporary ID cards from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has begun giving ID cards to the Pakistani Christian asylum seekers in Thailand.

This is something that is a big issue for Pakistani Christian asylum seekers, as at the end of their six-month tourist visa they have to apply for a renewal for another six months and if their case is not decided during this period they have to keep applying for renewals until their case is decided.

It is a costly process, and therefore, because of a lack of money, many Christians never applied for renewal thus they have become illegal immigrants and live in hiding.

The Thai police raid their houses, arrest them and present them in courts, where they are fined and put into detention centres. According to some reports, several Pakistani Christians have died in these detention centres, but now the Thai Government – which is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 protocol and does not have a formal national asylum framework – has begun recognizing these IDs. There are about 11,000 asylum seekers in Thailand, who fled Pakistan because of religious persecution.  

Though many Pakistani Christians organization have been working for these asylum seekers the truth was only seen after the BBC documentary about the plight of these asylum seekers. Lord Alton’s services are equally appreciated, as he went to Thailand to get firsthand experience and then raised this matter with the media and the British government.