Reuniting families separated by detention

Seeing divided families is a painful sight and this is often the case in immigration detention centres where women and men are held in separate detention cells. For 25 years, the Jesuits have been working closely with the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Bangkok to facilitate the release of detainees and help them return to a life of dignity and freedom with their families. Two years ago, Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific handed over responsibility for this work to the Jesuit Foundation – Prison Ministry Thailand.

Continuing to accompany the “stranger” in Thai prisons

For 25 years, the Jesuit prison ministry in Thailand has been accompanying foreign prisoners primarily through providing counselling and companionship. Today, the programme serves about 1,200 prisoners spread across in 10 prisons in Bangkok and other provinces, and two prison hospitals.

This year, the team encountered a number of challenges.

Seeing modern slavery in front of my eyes

In May 2015, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) approached the Jesuits in Jakarta for the help of Myanmar scholastics as translators for its interviews with Myanmar citizens who had been enslaved in the Thai fishing industry.  Several scholastics did so, among them Simon Kam Sian Muan, who is now back in Myanmar for his Regency.  He shares here what he learnt from the experience.

 

Thai Jesuit education project on the way

With the cooperation and support of a considerable circle of lay experts as well as the advice of Jesuit educators in Asia Pacific, the Jesuits in Thailand are embarking on an ambitious education project to serve the poor, especially the indigenous communities in the northern mountains of the country.  An assistant professor at Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai has been hired to conduct a feasibility study that will help the Jesuits work out many of the details of the proposed college.  It should be completed in August. 

Learning Asian theology through an experience of Buddhism

posted in: Interreligious Dialogue | 0

Jesuit scholastics are invited to join a four-week programme designed to guide them in examining issues of Asian theology, and understanding interreligious dialogue and the inculturation of the Catholic faith in Asia. They will do this through an intensive experience of Buddhism in the specific context of Thailand, which is predominantly Buddhist.

Now on its 10th year, the 2015 East Asia Theological Encounter Programme (EATEP) will be held from July 22 to August 17 at the Seven Fountains Spirituality Centre in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Tales from the Bangkok Immigration Detention Centre

posted in: Social Justice | 0

The Bangkok Immigration Detention Centre is neither a prison nor a jail. It is the last barrier for non-Thais awaiting deportation back to their home countries, after finishing their prison sentences or paying court-imposed fines.

These detainees have, for the most part, entered Thailand illegally.  How long they will be in the detention centre depends on many factors – the regulations of their country’s embassy/consulate, their travel documents, a plane ticket, and whether they are physically fit for the flight home.