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UN gravely concerns over deportation of Uighur back to China

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:   Rupert Colville
Location: Geneva  
10 July 2015
We are gravely concerned by the deportation to China yesterday of 109 people understood to be ethnic Uighurs -- including some 20 women -- by the Thai authorities. The 109 individuals, who were part of a larger group of more than 350, had been detained in very poor conditions at various immigration detention facilities across Thailand since March 2014, when they were apprehended after leaving China on their way to Turkey. Despite Turkey’s reported willingness to admit them to its territory, only 172 of the 350 were eventually allowed to go to Turkey in late June. Some 60 others remain in detention in Thailand.
The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment has repeatedly expressed concern to the Thai authorities that the deportation of this group to China would amount to refoulement and put them at risk of being tortured or subjected to other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
The principle of non-refoulement is contained in Article 3 of the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment to which Thailand is a party.
We strongly urge the Thai authorities to ensure the protection of the 60 individuals who remain in detention and ensure that no further deportation of individuals, including potential refugees and asylum seekers, are made to countries where there are substantial grounds to believe that they would face an imminent risk of grave human rights violations, including torture.
We also urge Thailand to monitor the return of this group and to do all in its power to ensure that they are treated in line with international human rights standards.
We call on the Chinese authorities to ensure that those extradited are treated in full conformity with the country’s human rights. We understand the Thai authorities have received diplomatic assurances from China that the people will be protected from harm, and urge both countries to ensure that this pledge is scrupulously observed.


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