That’s one long layover.
A Zimbabwean family has been stuck in the Bangkok airport for about three months.
The family of 6, including 4 children and 2 adults, has refused to return to Zimbabwe out of fear of persecution.
The family has had no option but to stay put in the Suvarnabhumi airport as they search for help.
Workers at the airport have been helping to provide food and other necessities to the family for 3 months.
They originally came to Thailand as tourists and attempted to fly out to Barcelona, Spain via Kiev in Ukraine, but were denied entry on the flight because they did not have Spanish visas. However, they were then not allowed to reenter Thailand because their initial visas had expired, trapping them in the airport. They were also fined by Thai officials for overstaying their tourist visas by 5 months.
They have refused to board a flight to their native Zimbabwe out of fear of what may happen to them upon their return. Some have questioned their fear given that Zimbabwe had a relatively peaceful transition of power after former president Mugabe was ousted recently.
UN’s refugee agency is working on a process to help the family go to another country.
“They could travel to other countries that are willing to take them… We also offered to relocate them to our holding centre where there is childcare. But they refused. They are happy to stay here,” said Immigration bureau spokesman Pol Col Cherngron Rimphadee.