Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible Refugees

Collection with 12 media items created by U.S. Editor

06 Jun 2013 14:00

Thailand is a main destination for refugees in South and South East Asia. Thousands of immigrants cross its borders every year for economic reasons but also in search of protection from persecution or from the conflicts that ravage their own countries. They are refugees, people who leave their countries of origin fearing harm for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.

According to UNHCR data, Thailand hosts more than 85 000 refugees (as registered by the UNHCR) and 1200 asylum seekers (waiting for their recognition). Most of these people are Burmese nationals living in refugee camps located alongside the Thailand-Myanmar border (Burma). Nevertheless, as Thailand has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, refugees from other nationalities that cannot live inside camps are considered as illegal immigrants and face imprisonment and abuse from Thai authorities. Despite this, many refugees choose Thailand for logistical reasons; many of them come from Pakistan and Sri Lanka and it is easy for them to obtain a tourist visa to Thailand.

Women are among the most vunerable refugees. Many of them have suffered sexual abuse and torture in their countries of origin and, according to the UNHCR, are more likely to be subject to sexual violence and trafficking after fleeing. For single-mother refugees, the burden is even heavier as they have to look after the whole family alone. As illegal migrants in Thailand, they cannot find a job or get any income legally. Once recognized by UNHCR as refugees, they received an allowance that ranges from 2000 to 3.800 baths (64 to 122 USD), amount that refugees consider insufficient to meet their most basic needs.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
06 Jun 2013

Sania (random name), 33, left Pakistan in 2012, one year after the escape of her husband, a member of an opposition organization. She lives with her three children in Bangkok, while her husband is hold in an Immigration Detention Center located in the same city. Both have been recognized as refugees.da, where she will be resettled.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
09 Jun 2013

Abida, 53, belongs to the Ahmadiyya minority, an Islamic reformist movement persecuted in Pakistan. She left her country in 2009 with her three children after being attacked in their home-town, Gujrat. She is now waiting in Bangkok to travel to Canada, where she will be resettled.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
06 Jun 2013

Sahar (random name), 50, fled Iran in 2010 with her three children escaping from the abuses of her husband. Two of her three children are already adults but she also takes care of her granddaughter, abandoned by her Thai mother. She has recently been recognized as refugee by UNHCR.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
06 Jun 2013

Andrea (random name) was married with a member of the Intelligence Service of the Tamil guerrilla during the civil war in Sri Lanka. When the civil war finished in 2009 her family was targeted by the government and they fled after her husband disappeared. She lives in Bangkok with two of her three children. She has been rejected as refugee and she is preparing the appeal against the UNHCR decision.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
06 Jun 2013

Muna (random name), 39, lost the favour of her family after marrying a man from another tribal clan in Somalia. When her husband disappeared in 2010 both her family and her husband´s family tried to kill her. She fled in July 2011 and travelled to Bangkok but she had to leave her four children in her country. As a refugee, she started the process to be resettled.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
06 Jun 2013

Shoba (random name), 35, left Sri Lanka in August 2009, two months after the end of the civil war with the Tamil guerrilla. Her husband disappeared in July 2009 after being accused of helping the guerrilla. Already recognized as a refugee, she lives now in Bangkok with her children, while waiting to be resettled.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
08 Jun 2013

Maria Teresa (random name), 36, fled Angola in 2009 escaping from local authorities who threatened her life. In 2008, the government expropriated her house and detained her during a demonstration. Now she lives in Bangkok with her 2 years-old daughter, where she has initiated the process to get the refugee status.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
08 Jun 2013

Pendeza (random name), 31, was detained and tortured in Democratic Republic of Congo because of the tie of her husband with a tribal guerrilla. She arrived in Bangkok in November 2012 after having travelled through Rwanda and Kenya. She lives with her baby son as an asylum seeker, waiting to be recognized as refugee.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible ...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
14 Jun 2013

Shakila (random name) belongs to the Ahmadiyya minority, an Islamic reformist movement persecuted in Pakistan. She fled her country in December 2012 with her 32-years old son who was threatened for working with an Ahmadi company. She lives now in Bangkok and she waits to get the refugee status.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
14 Jun 2013

Sarah (random name) left Democratic Republic of Congo after being threatened for defending women rights in the country. She decided to leave when the government killed two of her colleagues from the NGO she was working for. She has been recognized as refugee in Bangkok but she does not qualify for UNHCR assistance as she makes some money selling jewelry and scarfs.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
15 Jun 2013

Yop's life (random name), a Christian woman aged 45, changed when she refused the marriage proposal from a Muslim man working with her. Since that moment, he started threatening her and her family and he turned their lives into hell when she decided to marry another man. Thanks to his contacts, her harasser made her and her husband to be imprisoned and her nephew killed. The whole family left the country in December 2011 and traveled to Bangkok where they got the refugee status.

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Immigrant Single Mothers, Invisible R...
Bangkok, Thailand
By Biel Calderon
05 Jun 2013

Rachel (random name) fled Sri Lanka in 2009 after being arrested by the authorities of her country for belonging to the Tamil community. She arrived first in Malaysia and traveled after to Bangkok, where she is waiting to get the refugee status. She has a 9 months old daughter who was born in Thailand.