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Justice For All’s Save Uyghur Campaign Supports UN Letter and Echos Call For Swift Resettlement of Uyghurs Arbitrarily Detained by Thai Authorities.

Justice For All’s Save Uyghur Campaign is urging the Thai government to promptly relocate a group of Uyghurs who have been held in arbitrary detention for more than ten years. This call comes after UN experts jointly issued a letter expressing concern about the continued welfare of these individuals.

The prolonged detention of these individuals has raised serious alarm within the international community and demands a prompt and humane resolution. Justice For All’s Save Uyghur Campaign emphasizes the critical need for the Thai government to uphold their obligations under international law and ensure the swift relocation of these individuals to a safer and secure environment.

The letter, endorsed by a group of five experts and two Working Groups, urges the Thai authorities to disclose details regarding the conditions of detention and the legal justification for the “prolonged, incommunicado detention,”  of the individuals. It also seeks information on the detainees’ physical and mental health status, their access to medical assistance, legal representation, and communication with their families.

Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid, president of Justice For All, highlighted the urgency of the situation, stating, “The prolonged detention of these Uyghurs is a flagrant violation of their fundamental rights and freedoms. The Thai government must act without delay to relocate these individuals and guarantee their safety and well-being.”

The letter also conveyed “serious concern” regarding the extradition of 109 Uyghurs in July 2015 “without an assessment of their protection needs under international human rights and refugee laws.”

Arslan Hidayat, Save Uyghur lead at Justice For All, emphasized the importance of global solidarity in addressing such human rights violations, saying, “The UN experts’ letter underscores the need for immediate action to protect the rights and dignity of these Uyghur individuals. It is imperative that the Thai government demonstrates its commitment to upholding human rights by swiftly relocating the detained Uyghurs.”

The letter calls on the Thai government to investigate the deaths of five Uyghurs in immigration detention. It follows the one-year anniversary of the death of Mattohti Mattursun (Uyghur name: Muhammad Tursun), a 40-year-old Uyghur refugee who died from suspected liver failure after being detained in Thailand for over nine years. Earlier in 2023, another Uyghur refugee, Aziz Abdullah, aged 49, passed away in the Suan Phlu Immigration Detention Center after nearly nine years in immigration detention. Aziz Abdullah’s death on February 11 was said to be the result of pneumonia.

With reference to the 2022 assessment by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the letter continues to state: “We further wish to express our serious concern for the physical and psychological safety of Uyghur migrants which we believe to be at risk of retaliation in direct connection with their values and beliefs, as already ascertained by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.”

Uyghurs have been singled out due to their ethnicity and religious beliefs, but their detention and incarceration have also been linked to connections abroad. It is widely known that any Uyghurs or Turkic individuals forcibly repatriated to China face a high likelihood of persecution.

The non-refoulement principle applies to all states, regardless of their ratification of the Refugee Convention. It states that no one should be sent back to a country where they would face a genuine risk of persecution, torture, inhuman or degrading treatment, or any other violation of their human rights.

Justice For All’s Save Uyghur Campaign remains steadfast in its advocacy efforts to ensure justice and protection for Uyghurs around the world. The urgent call to relocate the detained Uyghurs in Thailand reflects the campaign’s commitment to seeking justice and safeguarding the rights of all individuals.

This situation underscores the importance of continued advocacy efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of all Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers. Therefore we urge everyone to contact their representatives to get the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act passed. This bill designates Uyghurs as Priority 2 refugees of special humanitarian concern—allowing them quicker entry into the United States and protection from harassment, abuse, and persecution from the Chinese government.

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