We’re very proud to share our latest documentary with you. The 13 minute film by Tara Milutis, documents the life of urban refugees suffering in Bangkok. The story includes urgent details on their plight, as discussed by volunteers, and the refugees themselves. We share this moving documentary with the hope it will encourage you to support the work of Courageous Kitchen to work with people similar to those in the film.
Introductory Facts and Quotes on Urban Refugees
Fact #1 – Urban Refugee Definition and Shifting Demographics (0:32)
An urban refugee is a refugee who decided, or was obliged to seek asylum in an urban area rather than in a camp based settlement.
About half of the world’s refugee population under the UNHCR mandate now lives in urban settings. This includes city’s like Bangkok, which is known for being welcoming to tourists, but can be a harsh environment for people seeking help from other countries.
“Oui, C’est la vie! That’s life… It means that when you fall down, raise up and continue your journey. Do not give up. Never give up.” – Louis
Fact #2 – Urban Refugees in Bangkok are Suffering (0:54)
There are an estimated 8,000 urban refugees seeking asylum in Bangkok, Thailand. They are living an isolated life existence with little opportunity for employment or socialization.
Thailand considers all urban refugees as illegal immigrants, even if they have gained UN refugee status. They remain mostly hidden scraping by on odd jobs and donations, waiting in limbo on the fringes of society for another chance at life.
“It’s a very hard life. Can’t find a job. And how can we find the money to pay rent? To buy food? And sometimes we’re sick, where can we get the money to go to the hospital?” – Razoen
Fact #3 – Getting Refugee Status Takes Years (6:54)
The process of gaining refugee status in Bangkok can be long a drawn out, sometimes taking up to 10 years. During this time asylum seekers are left with little to no support from the UN or government agencies, and no legal avenues for obtaining work.
With the constant threat of arrest and incarceration in the Immigration Detention Center (IDC), even if they do find work, every day on the job is a risk.
“But we also have a responsibility to our neighbors, to humanity. We shouldn’t be relying on the UN to do all of these things.” – Alex
Fact #4 – We Have a Responsibility to Humanity
Where governments fail, and international NGOs fall short, each of us has our own responsibility to humanity. This starts by being educated about the refugee situation, and by being commited to make a difference locally— wherever we live in the world.
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About the Filmmaker
This film was created by American filmmaker, Tara Milutis. The New York native specializes in helping agencies in the development sector to better tell the compelling stories of those they help. Her work has been screened at the UN general assembly, and featured in major news publications. You find out more about Tara and her work on the Milutis Films website.