Dec 15, 2010

East Turkestan: Appeal for Disclosure of the Information Regarding Situation of 20 Uyghur Asylum – Seekers

The World Uyghur Congress is gravely concerned that almost one year after Cambodia’s illegal and forcible return of 20 Uyghur asylum-seekers (including one woman and two children) to China, the Chinese authorities still have not disclosed their whereabouts and legal statuses or information about their well-being. This comes despite having promised the international community that it would deal with the Uyghurs transparently upon return.

Below is an article published by World Uyghur Congress:

The World Uyghur Congress calls on the Chinese authorities to immediately disclose these Uyghurs’ whereabouts and to unconditionally release them.  Although the Chinese government has alleged that these Uyghurs committed criminal and violent acts, the government has not produced any evidence to substantiate such allegations.  The government routinely makes unsubstantiated accusations against Uyghurs of crimes and violence and also regularly equates Uyghurs’ peaceful political dissent, as well as peaceful religious and cultural activities, with terrorism, religious extremism, and separatism.

On December 19, 2009, under pressure and influence from China, the Cambodian government forcibly returned these 20 Uyghurs before the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had made a determination about their refugee status.  China rewarded Cambodia for its reprehensible action by signing an agreement two days after the return to provide a reported US$1.2 billion in aid to Cambodia.  Cambodia returned these Uyghurs to China while being fully aware that in China, they would be tortured and persecuted on grounds set forth in the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol to the Refugee Convention, of which Cambodia is a party.