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Bangkok Refugee Center  
An Implementing Partner of the UNHCR  

Being an Asylum Seeker

Until asylum seekers are classified as refugees, they have very limited access to help. Only a handful of organizations provide help to asylum seekers, and without them, asylum seekers are left to fend for themselves.

“We do not have freedom”

Sri Lanka“We do not have freedom. The money exchange is very difficult. For Thais, 20 baht is not a lot of money for a meal, but in our currency…it feeds two people. So we have a lot of problems.”

“We have nothing”

Iranian Flag“[There was a] lack of information for me. I also had economic problems, we have nothing. Especially me, I used to suffer from heart disease and I did not have my medication with me and I did not know how to get it in Thailand. For me it was not a long time, 5 months, but for some asylum seekers it is a long period of waiting time and for them it is important that they have security.”

“I brought money”

Chinese Flag“I did not have problems because I brought money to last me for six months, and I was recognized [as a refugee] within one month.”

“My only chance is the UNHCR”

Ethiopian Flag“Asylum seekers have to wait for result. I have waited for 4 months no answer. I want to know my result because if they reject my case I have no choice, my only chance is the UNHCR. I have been asking for my result every day. If the UNHCR does not accept me I will kill myself because the other choice is prison.”

“I live in fear”

Congo“There are many frustrations. I do not have a fixed address for one. I depend on the generosity of others. I do not have money. I do not live a normal life. I do not have a job…I live in fear; it is not a good life.”

“We cannot go back to our country”

Iraqi Flag“[There is] psychological exhaustion because we do not know about what will happen in the future. We cannot go back to our country. [We] also worry about being refused. At that time we had a visa, but when the UN has problems we did not have a visa which is also a concern.”

“Everything…is difficult”

Congo“There are so many financial problems and to renew a visa. [Also] worrying about if I am going to be recognized as a refugee or not and how to pay the next rent. Everything in life is difficult.”

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