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Archvies (12th July 2016): Losing hope

Okay, I will be honest, I am losing hope that we will be able to find some viable solution to help Tahir. We have engaged on so many fronts in trying to find a place for him to live, so that he can at least start trying to have a feeling of normal life. So far all attempts fail, and despite countless enquires, begging emails, arguments on humanitarian grounds… nothing seems to be working, and as far as I am concerned, we are losing the fight for Tahir. Here are the reasons:

- Future in Pakistan: Clearly, Tahir has no future in Pakistan. Ahmadiyya people, especially younger men are hated there, just because they are Ahmadiyya. In his native village, there are people waiting for him ready to kill him, just because he merely was trying to stand up to the leaders of the local Sunni mosque defending his right to run a small stall with textiles.

- Future in Thailand: Staying in Thailand could be an option… but only if the authorities granted him a right to stay. Sadly, Thailand is not a signatory of the Geneva Convention on Refugees, and therefore, as such, is not obliged to follow international standards on protecting refugees. Consequently, Thailand does not have laws that would regularise people like Tahir, and prevent them from having normal lives. Tahir is not allowed to be here, not mentioning having a right to work, or attend a school. He has no right for a medial insurance… Technically, he is not allowed to exist here. The only way to survive in Thailand is either our continuous financial support, and counting on luck not to get arrested, or falling seriously sick. Then of course, he could get arrested, and spend years in a detention centre waiting for some kind of miracle to be resettled somewhere (very unlikely).

- Future in Poland: After some vague hope of being able to send him there, so that he could start his life there, it is clear that the authorities of Poland, the whole system just does not want to extend any protection to Tahir. All of our application, one by one are not even considered. The officials keep on telling us that they would like to help, but there is not a legal framework to do that. Call me naive, or call me whatever you want… I will never accept it. Perhaps, I will not be able to do much about it, and will be defeated, but I will never, never accept the reasoning that one cannot help saving a human life, because the regulations are not foreseeing a situation that someone can be helped without putting public resources at strain (clearly, many of us are ready to cover all the costs relating to his resettlement to Poland).

- Future in other countries: We also are trying to resettle Tahir to Canada, USA or Australia. His application for a resettlement there is however hugely dependent on UNHCR. His applications may be considered by these countries (without a guarantee of being successful), only if UNHCR in Thailand processes his refugee claim in Bangkok. The problem is that the organisation is painfully slow, and despite having waited for 3 years, we still do not have any answer from UNHCR on his official status. We may still need to be waiting for a year or more, before he is granted the UNHCR refugee status… and when this is done, we could only start resettlement application, which are not likely to be successful and take forever (literally years).

I know that there are millions of people in a situation of Tahir, but it is Tahir that I am trying to help, and for me, he is a personification of failure of humanity, and a proof showing that one is unable to make a difference, even if trying to do whatever could possibly be done. There are many reasons and many people that are directly responsible for his suffering in his own country, but equally many of us, who fail extending a helping hand, even if we could do it easily. This makes me sad, makes me angry, and frustrated. My frustration does not mean much and will not change the fate of Tahir and similar to hime in the longer run, but there it is: I feel powerless, and upset and I have run out of ideas of what else could be done. I am not proud of my country, I am not proud of being a European and I am not proud of being a human being. Collectively, as humans we failing those whom we could help, and most of us fail individually too.