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Assistant Secretary Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Julieta Valls Noyes is visiting Thailand on December 7 – 10, 2022, to discuss refugee protection and humanitarian assistance for vulnerable populations in Thailand.
Around 50 Uyghurs are being detained in Thailand’s Immigration Detention Centers (IDC). They fled China’s authoritarian regime in 2014 in search of freedom. They are, however, still not free and, worse, facing deportation. In July 2015, Thailand deported 109 Uyghurs (including 20 women) to China, succumbing into China’s intense diplomatic pressure, with several Uyghurs falsely accused of terrorism. Such diplomatic pressure and false claims continue. Uyghurs in Thailand are especially vulnerable, as there is a serious risk of deportation given Chinese President Xi’s recent visit to Thailand in November 2022.
They face serious risks of arbitrary detention, torture, and other forms of severe mistreatment if returned to China, especially given the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs.
We urge the United States to intervene to prevent the refoulement of Uyghurs. And urge Assistant Secretary Noyes to discuss those detained Uyghurs during her upcoming visit to Thailand this week, when she meets with senior government officials as well as non-governmental and international organization partners.
The Uyghurs detained in Thailand must not be deported to China and should not remain in detention. They must be granted with:
- access to UNHCR for refugee status;
- access to medical care, mental health support, halal food, and humanitarian aid
- human rights in the same way as other refugee populations
- transfer from IDC to refugee facilities
- assistance from Thailand authorities in resettling them in a third country where they can live in safety and freedom.