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For Urban Asylum Seekers, Uncertainty is the Certainty

BANGKOK, May 28 (Reporting ASEAN) – Waiting, perhaps for something, perhaps for nothing much, perhaps tomorrow, or perhaps never. Being in a permanent state of uncertainty may well be what life is for many urban asylum seekers in Bangkok and other cities in Southeast Asia.

After fleeing for reasons that range from wars to religious and ethnic persecution from places like Pakistan and Somalia to Cambodia and Vietnam, they are far from safe or secure while waiting for the results of their refugee-status applications.

Urban asylum seekers and refugees live in urban settings like the Thai capital, but some rarely go out of often-shared apartments, wary of calling attention to themselves.

Many worry about being reported to the police and ending up in detention, as has happened to others. Low-profile non-government groups give support ranging from information about refugee status determination by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Thai-language classes to counselling. Catholic churches arrange donations for them.

To read the rest of this analysis: https://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1474153/for-urban-asylum-seekers-uncertainty-is-the-certainty

*Johanna Son is the Bangkok-based editor of the Reporting ASEAN program. This feature is part of SEA Junction and the TIFA Foundation’s series on the “displaced and uprooted” in Southeast Asia.

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