The WUC is alarmed at the mistreatment of Uyghur refugees in Thailand
The World Uyghur Congress is alarmed at the continued mistreatment of Uyghur refugees in Thai detention facilities, where new reports have suggested that 6 detainees were badly beaten by Thai police inside one facility in Bangkok. We are also deeply concerned that Thai authorities have not allowed for proper access to medical treatment for their injuries.
Sources on the ground have indicated that a group of six Uyghur men – Omar Osman, Muhammat Yusup, Ali Muhammat, Ablikim, Abdulaziz and Yasin – were being held with a large group of people from different nationalities at the Bangkok Central Detention Center. On February 29, the group of Uyghur men took exception to the fact that Thai officials at the facility had been watching an erotic film in the presence of the detainees, which then led to an argument between the two groups. Thai police were subsequently called in to calm the situation and reportedly beat the men, one of which sustained serious head injuries. A second man also sustained less severe head injuries with the remaining four being beaten on their torsos – none of whom were allowed access to the hospital afterwards.
The group has remained in the facility for at least two years at this point, along with another 50 in different facilities around Bangkok, after having been discovered in a human smuggling camp in southern Thailand. Since the group of Uyghurs was discovered and detained, fears have grown about the risk that the group would be abused in custody, or worse, returned to China. These fears have already been realized as the health of those in the group deteriorated quickly and resulted in the death of a six-year-old boy for lack of medical care. Then, on 8 July 2015, 109 were forcibly returned to China, despite widespread condemnation from the international community.
We remain rightly concerned that this mistreatment and lack of proper access to medical treatment will continue until the group is finally released from these facilities. It is now the obligation of the Thai government to ensure that the remaining group of Uyghur refugees are freed from detention in a timely manner and that they are provided adequate care. We therefore urge the Thai government to respect international law, and the 1951 Refugee Convention in particular, in this case to ensure that refugees are treated fairly and that their rights are respected.