UNHCR Thailand v/s “Fake and poorly written”. By Shahbaz Aziz ud din
21 Jan 2019
It was 10th July 2015 in evening when I received a call from one of my friend and he told me that he received a letter in his Facebook inbox (personal message) from some another Facebook id “Mohammad Akram Rahi” and the attachment is a letter from UNHCR Thailand about Pakistani Christians. He added that his wife is weeping and saying if UNHCR Thailand has announced that Christians from Pakistan are not persecuted and should return back to Pakistan.
Later I received more calls that people are worried and trying to find out is this real letter or not. Pakistani Christians in Thailand were very worried and terrified after this letter circulated. It was a strange situation that UNHCR Thailand has decided to send back all Asylum seekers from Thailand and particularly Pakistani Christians.
We expected that UNHCR will deny and condemn this act of forgery and fake letter within next few hours or may be next day or next one or two days. The letter was well planned and published or sent after UNHCR Thailand office timings. So it was plenty of time before UNHCR Thailand gives any further explanation or condemnation using the UNHCR logo. I told my friend that, letter is fake if UNHCR Thailand has any intention to send all Pakistani Christian asylum seekers, then why they re-issue asylum certificates. So hopefully a strong reply will come from UNHCR Thailand and whoever did this will be easily tracked down as this is information technology age.
As I know that in Prachauthit area in a condo a UNHCR officer was angry when a UNHCR logo was pasted on entrance door of condo. He gathered the asylum seekers on top roof and threatened that strict action will be taken if education center for children is not closed on the condo roof. I expected that this is very serious matter and fake letter has created fear among Pakistani Christian community. I was sure we are people of concern as per the asylum certificate. But all my expectations slowly faded away.
Then after one month I saw an image on Facebook, which stated that UNHCR Thailand is now aware about a fake letter published about Christian asylum seekers also the line which really catch my attention was the comment about the fake letter it says “its contents are utterly false, in addition to being very poorly written”.
This notice was on JRS (Jersuit Refugee Service) notice board, very few people visit JRS on daily basis. Thanks to the person who used his brain and publish the image on Facebook. The notice was from UNHCR and displayed on JRS office notice board, sounds strange when JRS becomes the Media cell for UNHCR Thailand nobody knows.
Notice from UNHCR showed a date of 13th July 2015 but displayed on board in August 2015, God knows the reasons why so late. Notice itself was poorly written and in addition the translation in Urdu was very bad. The notice did not bear UNHCR stamp or any person signature, as it was necessary because it is not internal use notice in UNHCR Thailand office. The Notice seems more fake then the fake letter.
1. If official notice translation in Urdu is done with such careless way, concern is what about the asylum seekers who need interpreters to help from English to Urdu.
2. Why UNHCR Thailand used JRS notice board to display a notice which should be easily published on the UNHCR Facebook official page or website, are the Christians of Pakistan are not important to be addressed directly.
3. Why UNHCR is begging from the Asylum seeker community to help about the original author of the letter, do they have information that someone from asylum seekers have done this?
4. There is no reference number on the notice issued by UNHCR Thailand; this clearly shows how much UNHCR Thailand is concern about the Pakistani Christian Asylum seekers and its own integrity and respect.
5. If a public notice of UNHCR is written and translated in such a careless manner concern is what about the tasks completed inside the UNHCR Bangkok office?
6. UNHCR Bangkok should check the qualification and capability of staff responsible for interpretation and translation work.