After a Suvarnabhumi employee’s post went viral on social media, the UNHCR has sent the Zimbabwean family to the Philippines after Thai airport authorities housed the said family at Immigration Detention Center in Suan Phlu area.
A Zimbabwean family consisting of 2 men, 2 women and 4 children who were stuck at the Suvarnabhumi airport, has now arrived in the Philippines. They first came to Thailand in May. In October, they tried to leave for Barcelona, however, were barred at passport control due to 5 months overstay in the kingdom. When asked why they left their home country, the family would only answer that their country is currently unstable and going back home would only harm them due to their home country’s “instability”.
During the course of their transfer, Major General Pruettipong Pranyonsiri of the Immigration Police confirmed the news as the family was sent to the Philippines last Monday, January 22.
In a report by Khaosod, the Philippines is said to be a signatory to the UN conventions on refugees and has been more accommodating to refugees and asylum-seekers than Thailand, “which does not recognize their legal status.”
There is currently no open conflict in the southern African nation, but in November, the military seized control to oust longtime strongman Robert Mugabe from power after 37 years. It installed former Mugabe ally and Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa as president, as mentioned in a previous report.
Social media was also quick to rebut the Zimbabwean family’s claim of instability as fellow Zimbabweans tweeted that there is none to speak of. A tweet from @ElijahMinana said that “Economic challenges – yes. The country calm, and as we head for elections, politicians are campaigning in a peaceful atmosphere. Zimbabweans do their country a disservice when they lie about its circumstances.”
On November 7, the said family tried to board a Ukraine International Airlines flight to Mauritania connecting through Ukraine and Spain. After flying to Ukraine, they were barred from boarding the onward flight due to insufficient documents needed to enter Spain, said Col Cherngron. Since then, the family were sent back to Thailand on November 13, however, could not step out of the airport due to overstayed visas.