Thailand: providing vital services to people in detention
27 January 2014

The JRS clinic is currently the primary source of medical and psychological care for an average 70,000 detainees each year at the Bangkok detention center.
For more than 30 years, JRS has worked to care for the asylum seekers and forced migrants who have overstayed their visas in Thailand and put into detention. Victims of human trafficking also find themselves in the country without documents and are detained. The men, women and children in the IDC may be held there indefinitely.
Washington DC, 27 January 2014 — A grant from the J. Homer Butler Foundation has enabled Jesuit Refugee Service to provide medical care to detainees in Thailand's largest immigration detention centre, IDC Bangkok, which on any given day holds an average of 1,000 detainees.

The generous grant of 15,000 US dollars from the J Home Butler Foundation was augmented by 12,400 US dollars from Jesuit Missions Austria and 82,660 US dollars from a private Thai foundation.

For more than 30 years, JRS has worked to care for the asylum seekers and forced migrants who have overstayed their visas in Thailand and put into detention. Victims of human trafficking also find themselves in the country without documents and are detained. The men, women and children in the IDC may be held there indefinitely.

The overall goal of the project is to improve the physical and psychological wellbeing of detainees by increasing their access to health and social services, and by providing medical treatment, supplementary meals and social activities.

The JRS clinic is currently t.he primary source of medical and psychological care for an average 70,000 detainees each year who are housed in overcrowded and unhygienic conditions. The clinic's full-time medical staff provides hygiene supplies, medicines and vital outpatient medical and mental health services such as tuberculosis screenings and HIV testing.

IDC authorities recognise the importance and success of JRS Thailand in their effort to improve the health and wellbeing of the detainees held in the Bangkok facility. As a consequence, JRS has been able to provide medical care to hundreds of detainees each month and to conduct tuberculosis screenings in the clinic for long-term detainees. This year, JRS also provided tuberculosis screening for IDC authorities, furthering the commitment to their provision of this vital service.

From October of 2012 through September of 2013:

  • 12,089 visits were made by JRS staff to detainees in cells;
  • 705 people were treated by a doctor;
  • 456 people received tuberculosis screening;
  • 25 people received dental care and five people received vision care; and
  • 45 people received mental health services.
A few examples of people helped last year include:
  • After a mugging, a German detainee arrived at IDC he suffered from both physical injuries and psychological trauma so severe he could not be sent home. The JRS nurse arranged for consultations with a doctor and a psychologist in the JRS clinic, he recovered quickly and was able to fly home. Before leaving, he thanked JRS, noting that he did not know how long he might have stayed in the IDC without our services.
  • A five-year old Vietnamese girl experiencing hearing difficulties was referred by JRS and IOM to a specialist outside the IDC for a medical assessment. The specialist informed JRS she needed a hearing aid, or her condition would lead to permanent hearing loss. JRS provided her with a hearing aid, and IOM provide transportation for follow-up visits with specialists.
Thanks to the generosity of the J. Homer Butler Foundation and other donors, JRS has been able to continue attending to the needs of this vulnerable population in detention.




Press Contact Information
James Stapleton
international.communications@jrs.net
+39 06 69 868 468