UN was lazy on Uighurs: official

Originally Published by Phnom Penh Post, 23 December 2009

A SENIOR government official says the UN’s refugee agency did not act quickly enough to process the asylum claims of 20 ethnic Uighurs deported by Cambodian authorities on Saturday night, an act that has prompted a storm of international condemnation.

Speaking to reporters prior to a ceremony for the signing of aid agreements with visiting Chinese officials on Monday, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith accused the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of using the Uighurs as political pawns.

“UNHCR is the laziest office in Cambodia,” he said. “If they [granted refugee status] within a few days, those people would have been moved to other places, but they were slow and kept them for about a month.”

He also accused the agency of leaking the story to the press in order to “beat a drum” against the government, forcing authorities into opening investigations into the asylum seekers.

The Uighurs, part of a group of 22 who had applied for refugee status through UNHCR, were detained by Cambodian police on Friday and forcibly deported to China the following night. Two Uighurs remain on the run.

When contacted on Tuesday, Kitty McKinsey, Asia spokeswoman for UNHCR, declined to comment on Khieu Kanharith’s comments.

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‘Disturbing’ Uyghur deportations reflect China’s growing clout

Originally Published by  Democracy Digest, 22 December 2009

Uyghur asylum-seekers compulsorily repatriated from Cambodia last weekend had warned the U.N. refugee agency they feared long jail sentences or even the death penalty if deported to China, Associated Press reports.

The agency quotes a 29-year-old from Kashgar who had filmed the events of July 5 in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi:

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Deported Uighurs told UN of fears of China return

Published by AP, 22 December 2009

 BEIJING — Ethnic Uighur asylum-seekers forcibly repatriated over the weekend had warned the U.N. refugee agency they feared long jail terms or even the death penalty if they were sent back to China, according to statements seen by The Associated Press.

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China thanks Cambodia for deported Uighurs: $1.2 billion US in grants and loans

Originally Published by CBC News, 21 December 2009

Visiting Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping thanked Cambodia for deporting 20 Muslim asylum-seekers while handing the country $1.2 billion US in aid, a government spokesman said Monday.

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Protest Over Deportations

Published by RFA, 21 December 2009

HONG KONG—China is defending its deportation of 20 ethnic minority Uyghurs who had fled to Cambodia in the wake of deadly ethnic rioting, as the United States voices “deep concern” over the move.

The ethnic Uyghurs sought asylum in Cambodia following deadly ethnic riots this summer in China’s far western region of Xinjiang. China says they are suspected criminals.

They were deported back to China on Saturday despite international protests and fears that they could face trial, torture, and execution in China.

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The Long Arm of China: Why were members of China’s Uighur minority group recently deported from Cambodia?

Published By The Wall Street Journal, 21 December 2009

 On Saturday night under cover of darkness, a special Chinese plane departed from the military section of the Phnom Penh airport carrying 20 Uighur asylum seekers. For this group of men, women and children, this was the end of their failed effort to seek freedom from the Chinese regime.

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Cambodia sends 20 Uighur asylum seekers back to China

Originally Published by BBC, 19 December 2009

The United Nations refugee agency strongly condemned the deportation, saying Cambodia had committed a grave breach of international refugee law.

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Uyghurs Facing Midnight Extradition

Published by UNPO, 18 December 2009


UNPO is deeply concerned for the welfare of 20 Uyghurs as news emerges that they will be returned to China in the early hours of Saturday morning ahead of a visit to Phenh Penh by Chinese Vice-President, Xi Jinping.

wenty-two Uyghurs arrived in Cambodia in recent weeks and have claimed asylum on the basis that they face harsh treatment in China following accusations of an involvement in violent protests on July 5th earlier this year (2009).  The charges against them remain unknown.

The Chinese authorities have used the unrest as a smokescreen to increase the use of oppressive policies against the Uyghurs and unwarrantedly label them as criminals. Thousands of Uyghurs have been detained, regardless of their involvement in the demonstrations and ensuing turbulence and the human rights of imprisoned Uyghurs are harshly violated.

Over the past few months, news has surfaced of death sentences being imposed by Chinese authorities on at least 20 of the Uyghurs in custody, 9 of whom were executed in November 2009 to international condemnation (For example European Parliament Resolution Dated 26 November 2009). The trials have been shrouded in secrecy and have been carried out in a hasty fashion. Uyghurs were denied their right to a lawyer and no independent observers were permitted to the trials.

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