Washington: A prominent human rights body on Friday asked China to disclose the whereabouts of those Uighurs who were recently forcibly repatriated against their will from Cambodia, fearing that they might be ill-treated or tortured.
"Uighurs asylum seekers sent back to China by Cambodia have disappeared into a black hole," alleged Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
"There is no information about their whereabouts, no notification of any legal charges against them, and there are no guarantees they are safe from torture and ill-treatment,"
On December 19, the Cambodian government, under Chinese pressure, forcibly repatriated a group of 20 Uighurs, including two young children, in breach of the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, and the UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, to which Cambodia is a party; the Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
In mid-January, Human Rights Watch said, it received an unconfirmed report that some of the Uighurs forcibly deported from Cambodia the previous month have already been sentenced by a court in the Xinjiang Uyhur Autonomous Region of China, with some defendants sentenced to death.
"Although such quick sentencing would appear to be unusual, the Chinese government’s failure to provide any information about the fate of the group makes it impossible to know whether the report is accurate," it said.
"The Chinese government should immediately make a public statement about the whereabouts and status of the Uighurs repatriated from Cambodia, and allow the UN and family members to meet with them," said Richardson.
First Published: Friday, January 29, 2010, 13:21