Work is under way with the UNHCR to help stranded Zimbabwean family

The Thai Foreign Ministry has coordinated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ regional office in Thailand to find a solution to a Zimbabwean family of eight who have been stuck at Suvarnabhumi international airport for about three months.

Ms Busadee Santipitaks, director-general of Information Department of the Foreign Ministry, said Thursday (Dec 28) that the family of Mr Muvadi Rodrick was now classified as Person of Concern and the UNHCR was working on the asylum-seeking process because they could not return to their home country for fear of their own safety while, at the same time, they could not leave Thailand because they have over-stayed their visas and no countries have agreed to accept them.

A UNHCR official told Thai PBS reporters that the Zimbabwean family must formally applied for asylum first before the UNHCR could proceed to help them.  

The UNHCR would trying their best to help the Rodrick family, the official said, adding that the agency could not disclose the third country that the family had requested to go as it is confidential.

The family who is made up of four adults – three men and one woman and four children – are now in the care of Ukraine International Airlines and the Thai immigration at the airport. They were fined 20,000 baht each for overstaying visas and were banned from entering Thailand for one year.

The Zimbabwe family stay at one corner of Suvarnabhumi airport.