Aug 26, 2011

East Turkestan: Forced Return of Uighurs Another Embarrassment for Malaysian Government

The deportation of 11 ethnic Uyghur’s by the Malaysian government on the 18 August is a national embarrassment according to Free Malaysia Today. The government needs to justify why it did not give access to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 

Below is an article published by Free Malaysia Today

We, the undersigned civil society organisations strongly condemn the deportation of 11 Chinese citizens of Uighur ethnicity by the Malaysian government on Aug 18. It is a blatant violation of international law and/or international customary law against refoulement.

It is also an international embarrassment for Malaysian government to deport vulnerable individuals to a country where they may face dangers and risks.

We also urge the Malaysian government to publicly account for why it had not given access for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to determine and verify the status of these 11 Uighurs.

The government has the responsibility for ensuring the safety of these people before returning them back to their country or at least to give access to UNHCR to verify their asylum claim.

Apart from that, we surge the Malaysian government to immediately ensure that another five ethnic Uighurs among 16 arrested in raids on Aug 6 are not forcibly returned to China.

Arbitrary detention, repression and torture against Muslim ethnic minorities including the Uighurs by the Chinese government are well-documented. Returning this vulnerable ethnic minority group may lead to grave risks of torture and repression for them in China.

As a member for United Nations for Human Rights Council (UNHRC), once again, we remind the Malaysia government to show a good example of treatment of asylum seekers and refugees to other countries in the region, and to immediately halt any plans or actions that violate international law and/or international customary law.

The latest forced return of the 11 Uighurs by the Malaysian government has clearly exposed the appalling human rights treatments by the government and demonstrated lack of willingness and its commitment to improve the treatment and protection for these vulnerable individuals, refugees and asylum seekers.

We urge the Malaysian government to ratify the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol in order to protect and promote the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers in Malaysia.