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Pakistan: Refugees

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL10528, tabled on 10 October 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that (1) Pakistani refugees have recently been rounded up by Thai police and taken to detention centres, and (2) Defence Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has issued an instruction to the Immigration Bureau to detain all foreigners without visas, stating that they will be deported within a month; and whether they have assessed the likelihood that Christian and Ahmadis may face persecution when returned to Pakistan.

Answered on

24 October 2018

We are following closely the recent detention in Thailand of approximately 100 people, mainly from Pakistan, whom the Thai authorities consider illegal immigrants. This follows arrests of Cambodian and Vietnamese nationals at the end of August. We understand approximately 200 people who claim refugee and asylum status are currently in immigration detention, and that some of these are registered with the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We believe that the recent orders are not aimed at any specific group or groups but apply to anyone whom the Thai authorities deem an illegal visa over-stayer, as part of a general tightening of immigration enforcement. In September a senior official from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office raised our concerns about the treatment of those in immigration detention with the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are also working with the Thai authorities to improve conditions of detention.

We remain concerned about the treatment of minority communities, including religious minorities, in Pakistan. I discussed our concerns about Freedom of Religion or Belief and the protection of minority religious communities with Pakistan’s Human Rights Minister, Dr Shireen Mazari, in September 2018.