BBC NEWS | 2009/12/20 | 11:00:28 GMT
The US has expressed deep concern about the fate of 20 Uighur asylum seekers deported from Cambodia back to China. A statement by the US embassy in Phnom Penh came a day after the Uighurs were put on a plane to China, despite pleas from the UN refugee agency. The agency condemned the expulsions, saying Cambodia had committed a grave breach of international refugee law. The Uighurs fled to Cambodia after mass ethnic riots in China in July. Beijing has referred to the group as criminals. Human rights organisations have warned that the asylum seekers are likely to face persecution on return to China.
“The United States is deeply concerned about the welfare of these individuals, who had sought protection under international law,” the US embassy in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh said in Saturday’s statement. “We are also deeply disturbed that the Cambodian government decided to forcibly remove the group without appropriate participation by the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.” The embassy also urged China to “uphold international norms and to ensure transparency, due process and proper treatment of persons in its territory”. Continue reading