Help Peter, A Political Refugee

Peter is a 28-year old political refugee from Cameroon. I met him while visiting Bangkok's Immigration Detention Center (read: prison), where asylum seekers, even those recognized by the United Nations, are detained for years at a time in inhumane conditions. In the IDC , inmates are literally stacked on top of each other in cells meant for 15 people (many house more than 100). They receive inadequate food, are forced to drink Thailand's tap water, and often suffer from debilitating diseases. Peter fled Cameroon, where he experienced oppression and torture as a result of his human rights activism (read here  and here  to learn more), in hopes of finding safety. Yet, thanks to Thailand's legal system, he's been stuck in IDC for over 8 months, and his health is suffering. He has already been hospitalized and lives in fear of contracting a major illness. The thin rice gruel that comprises breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the IDC leaves his immune system with little energy.

Each time I speak with Peter, he talks of his hope, his faith, and the necessity of positivity. Like many of the inmates, Peter finds strength in the Bible, and others call him "the pastor," as he organizes Bible readings, prayer groups, and meditations for those inside. Getting to know him has been an eye-opening experience. 

Recently, Thailand's immigration department has allowed refugees to post a bail of 50,000 Thai Baht, which comes in at just under $1,400 USD. After posting bail, they are allowed to live and move freely within Thailand as they await relocation to a third country. Peter is confident that his health will improve once he is out of the detention center. Any amount that you can spare will bring him closer to freedom.


Adam De Gree
Goleta, CA

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