World Uyghur Congress exposes harassment of refuge-seeking Uyghurs abroad

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The World Uyghur Congress, a Germany-based organisation advocating Uyghur rights, released a statement on Thursday highlighting the plight of Uyghur individuals seeking refuge and asylum.

The WUC emphasised the cases of 43 Uyghur refugees held at the IDC Suan Phlu Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, since 2014, and Idris Hasan, detained in Morocco since 2021, stating that these individuals are at high risk of being returned to China and subjected to inhumane treatment by Chinese authorities.

“Uyghurs fleeing persecution and genocide face numerous stresses and vulnerabilities. They should be protected by the international community and not subjected to further harm. Host countries must uphold their obligations under international law and safeguard Uyghur refugees from being returned to a regime that seeks to eradicate their identity. It is also the responsibility of the UNHCR to better protect and respond meaningfully to urgent cases,” said WUC President Dolkun Isa.

The statement also highlighted that the Chinese administration “uses its power to relentlessly pursue Uyghurs seeking refuge” and exerts influence to pressure host countries into returning them to China. Once returned, Uyghur refugees face enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, and other serious human rights violations. Even those settled in host countries cannot fully escape Chinese government control, as they are regularly monitored, threatened, and intimidated.

The statement said the refugees are often coerced into spying on other Uyghurs or remaining silent about the genocide in East Turkistan, and are forced to refrain from any activism against China. Additionally, the Chinese government frequently denies passport renewals for Uyghur refugees, effectively rendering them stateless and in a precarious situation. This complicates their ability to obtain refugee status, seek asylum, find employment, access government services, and establish a stable life in their host countries.

Commemorating World Refugee Day, the WUC urged international human rights organisations and host countries to abide by their obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and uphold the principle of non-refoulement by immediately ceasing any extradition of Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers to China.

The organisation called on the international community to take significant action, condemn the harassment of the Uyghur community worldwide, and ensure the protection of Uyghur individuals seeking asylum and refuge abroad.

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