Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Malaysia secretly deported six Chinese Muslims to face uncertain fate under Beijing

Harakahdaily,04 February 2013

Feb 4: Malaysia secretly deported six Uighur Muslim refugees to China in what critics have slammed as a grave violation of international law.

Chinese riot police control a crowd of Uighur protesters in Xinjiang [File]

Human Rights Watch claimed the forced return was done on December 31, 2012.

“While Malaysians were celebrating the New Year, their government was forcibly returning Uighur asylum seekers to a dangerously uncertain fate in China.” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“The government has an obligation to explain how this happened, China’s role, and the steps being taken to ensure it doesn’t happen again," the global rights group said in a statement.

It pointed out that the six refugees had been registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and therefore allowed to proceed with application for refugee status.

Despite this, HRW said Malaysian police "clandestinely transferred the men in late December into the custody of Chinese authorities, who escorted them from Malaysia to China on a chartered flight".

"Under international law, it is unlawful for any country to return individuals to a place where they are likely to face persecution or torture.

"The Chinese government frequently accuses ethnic Uighurs, particularly those seeking asylum, of being terrorists or separatists without providing evidence to substantiate such claims. A Uighur forcibly returned to China by Malaysia in 2011, for instance, was sentenced to six years in prison on charges of 'separatism'," HRW added.

The Uighur people are a Turkic ethnic group living mostly in China's restive Xinjiang region, where thousands of dissidents and rights activists have either languished in jails or disappeared from public view.

~ Harakah Daily

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