Sep 25, 2009

East Turkestan: WFDA Regrets Korea’s Entry Denial of Mr. Isa

Active ImageThe World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA) deeply regrets the decision of the South Korean government to deny entry to Mr. Dolkun Isa, General Secretary of the World Uyghur Congress. Mr. Isa was invited by WFDA to attend its Third Biennial Meeting, which was held in Seoul on 16-18 September 2009.
Below is a statement by the WFDA, published by the World Uyghur Congress:

Mr. Isa, a German citizen, participated in the WFDA Second Biennial Meeting which was held in the Philippines in 2007, with no difficulty. Therefore, he was invited again this time to present a paper on the human rights situation in East Turkestan (Xinjiang), which is a topic of great concern to all democrats in the region, especially after the tragic outbreak of interethnic violence earlier this year [2009].

We do not believe there is any merit to the accusations by the government of China that he is a terrorist. Moreover, the WUC of which he is the executive head is an organization that operates on the principle of non-violence. Therefore, we are deeply disappointed that the South Korean government acted on such accusations and deny him entry. Moreover, we do not understand why the South Korean government would detain him for 48 hours at the airport, rather than sending him home immediately. This created great distress for all his family and friends, since it appeared that the South Korean government was considering handing him over to China, which would have been a major violation of the international law on non-refoulement.

We chose to hold this year’s conference in Seoul both out of respect for what South Korea has accomplished in democratization as well as hope that it can play a more active leadership role in the broader regional democracy movement. However, this case has caused us to express concern at the deleterious influence of China, even on a relatively robust country such as South Korea. We call on South Korea, as well as all other democratic countries, to purge their immigration watch lists of Mr. Isa and all those like him who have been labeled “terrorists” by non-democratic countries.