UNHCR deplores deportation of asylum-seekers before claims heard

 Geneva, Saturday 19 December 2009

The UN refugee agency expressed deep concern today about the involuntary return of asylum seekers before their claims have been heard. A disturbing pattern of such cases is increasingly evident around the world.

States are bound by the principle of non-refoulement, which applies to both those recognized as refugees and those seeking asylum.

 The forced return of asylum-seekers without a full examination of their asylum claims is a serious breach of international refugee law.

 UNHCR is deeply distressed at today’s forced return of some 20 ethnic Uighurs from China who had filed asylum claims in Cambodia but whose cases had not yet been assessed.

On Friday, UNHCR communicated to the Royal Government of Cambodia its concern at reports of imminent deportation.


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US State Department: Cambodia’s Forcible Return of Uighurs to China

Gordon Duguid
Acting Spokesman
Washington, DC
December 19, 2009

On December 19, the Royal Government of Cambodia, at the request of China, forcibly removed a group of 20 Uighur asylum seekers back to China in apparent violation of Cambodia’s international obligations. The United States is deeply concerned about the welfare of these individuals, who had sought protection under international law. We are also deeply disturbed that the Cambodian government decided to forcibly remove the group without the benefit of a credible process for determining refugee status and without appropriate participation by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The United States strongly opposed Cambodia’s involuntary return of these asylum seekers before their claims have been heard. This incident will affect Cambodia’s relationship with the U.S. and its international standing.

Now that the group has been returned to China, we urge the government of China to uphold international norms and to ensure transparency, due process and proper treatment of persons in its territory. We continue to stress to all parties concerned the importance of respecting human rights and honoring their obligations under international law.

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Open letter on Uighur asylum seekers in Cambodia

Amnesty International: Dec 16 2009 – 11:45pm

To His Excellency Sar Kheng,  Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Cambodia

 Your Excellency

I am writing as a matter of urgency about the safety of 22 ethnic Uighurs from the People’s Republic of China who have recently arrived in Cambodia and are seeking asylum.

Amnesty International understands that the Chinese government has formally requested the Cambodian authorities to send these asylum seekers back to China. We urge you not to return the 22 Uighur asylum seekers and to ensure that they have access to a fair asylum process.

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Ninety Four New Arrests over Ethnic Riots in Urumqi

Friday, 11 December 2009

UNPO is deeply concerned that an additional 94 individuals have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the Urumqi unrest earlier this year, due to reservations about the fairness of the trials that have already taken place.

UNPO has been closely following developments regarding the treatment of Uyghurs in the aftermath of the unrest in Urumqi this summer in which hundreds of people were killed. Hundreds if not thousands of Uyghurs are said to have been arrested in the days that immediately followed the riots in July 2009.The recent arrests of 94 people coincide with the Chinese government’s intensification of their “Strike Hard” policy launched in November this year [2009].

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3rd December 2009

China’s supreme court must carefully review reported death sentences imposed today on five individuals by a court in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of northwest China.

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International support needed to ensure safety of 22 Uyghur refugees in Cambodia


For immediate release
December 4, 2009, 6:00 pm EST
Contact: Uyghur American Association +1 (202) 349 1496

The Uyghur American Association (UAA) is concerned about the situation of 22 Uyghurs seeking refuge in Cambodia who fled China in the wake of unrest in East Turkestan in July. The 22 Uyghurs, including two children, escaped China through a network of underground missionaries.

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World Uyghur Congress and Uyghur American Association call for urgent international action against death sentences for five Uyghurs

For immediate release
December 3, 2009, 5:15 pm EST
Contact: World Uyghur Congress  +49 (89) 54321999
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China’s defamation campaign against Uighur human rights activists began six years ago – German government must take action!

Göttingen, November 25, 2009

As the sad culmination of a defamation campaign lasting many years against Uighur human rights activists in Germany the Society for Threatened Peoples STP (Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker GfbV) has condemned China’s attempts at spying on the World Congress of Uighurs (WUC)

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