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The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the 5th most religiously persecuted country in the world and one of the least evangelized.

512 ethnic groups were counted in this country and of these, 504 are unreached .  98% of the population is Islamic and the rest is divided between few Christians and other faiths such as Hinduism.

Being a Christian in Pakistan is a decision that could cost you and your family members your life. As a result, many Christians flee Pakistan in search of protection.

Most Christians who flee the country have been accused of blasphemy, and have been persecuted by their employers, neighbors, family members, religious leaders or even terrorist groups such as the Taliban or Al Qaeda.

Pakistan's blasphemy laws allow the possibility of being legally sentenced to death for opposing the fundamental truths of the religion, namely: Allah is the only God, the Quran is a sacred text and Muhammad is the prophet.

This law has been an instrument of persecution of minority religions.

Image by Muhammad Amer
Image by Levi Meir Clancy

Christian Church hit after terrorist bomb attack in Pakistan

Refugees in Thailand

Due to religious persecution, Christians have been fleeing Pakistan since its independence in 1947. But it wasn't until 2010 that these asylum seekers started choosing Thailand as one of their destinations.

Due to the ongoing migration crisis in Southeast Asia caused by conflicts in Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar, Thailand has many UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) offices throughout the country. Through a survey carried out by ETNOS missionaries in March 2016, we identified that most of Pakistani refugees came to Thailand seeking support from this abundant UN structure in the third country resettlement process.

However, upon arriving in Thailand, this expectation never materialized. About 95% of asylum applications  from Christians are rejected by UNHCR.

The UN says the cases are dismissed for inconsistency or lack of evidence. However, after investigating the real reasons for this high rejection rate, we found that there are strong indications of discrimination based on religion on the part of UNHCR, as among Muslim minority asylum seekers the rejection rate drops to less than 50%.

Another factor pointed out by the Christian community is that the content of their interviews is altered by the Islamic translator offered by UNHCR itself.


While refugees await the lengthy process of evaluating their cases by UNHCR, their tourist visas in Thailand expire, turning the refugees into illegal immigrants because they do not have a valid visa.


Even if a Christian has the UN refugee letter in hand attesting to his official refugee status, for Thailand he is a mere illegal immigrant, as Thailand does not recognize them as refugees. That's why they can't work and access public services in general. 

The community of Christian refugees lives in hiding  from immigration police as they look for underemployment, often analogous to slave labor, to survive in Bangkok.


When eventually captured by the immigration police, they are incarcerated in the immigration detention center. Where even children are held captive.


Humanitarian Action

Once we undestood this situation of our Pakistani brothers and sisters, our first reaction was to try to remove them from Thailand seeking shelter in other countries. After countless attempts we we discovered this to be impossible.

At the same time, we support these brothers and sisters in an humanitarian relief capacity. In the survey carried out in 2016, we identified many cases of chronic health problems within the community generated by stress, sedentary lifestyle and poor diet.


Network of House Churches and Development

Unfortunately when these brothers and sisters are denied their resettlement requests, their lives in Thailand become even more restricted. However, despite the circumstances, their faith in Christ is not shaken. Rather, it is what sustains them after so many years of suffering and loss.

These brothers and sisters continue to worship Christ in everything they do. Our local worker, Pastor Alef (not his real name), has organized a network of house churches in the slums of Bangkok and has pastored and cared for every member of that community.


In response, we started a program called Clínica na Bolsa ( Clinica in a Bag), which was led by two nurses who provided basic health care from house to house.

We also help with food and clothing donation campaigns, support other organizations with homeschool projects and various other one-off actions.


This network of churches has done fantastic evangelistic work and in recent months new Pakistanis, Indians, Silks and Thais have been converted to Christ.

In 2022, Etnos is building a network of partners to start microcredit programs with refugee families, so that they can earn a basic livelihood.


These brothers are serving God in the midst of chaos and responding to the Lord's command in a situation where many would not dare.

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Network of House Churches

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