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UNHCR shocked over Thailand's deportation of some 100 persons of Turkic origin

UNHCR - Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 
09/07/2015 | Press release

distributed by noodls on 09/07/2015 08:15

Press Releases, 9 July 2015

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees is alarmed at today's deportation of some 100 persons of Turkic origin by Thailand. It is believed that they were taken to China on two flights early on Thursday morning (July 10), despite having indicated that they did not wish to be deported to China. The group may have included women and children.
UNHCR has been aware of these cases for several months, and made numerous interventions on their behalf to the Royal Thai Government. In response, the agency was given assurances that the matter would be handled in accordance with international legal standards, and that the group would continue to receive protection.
A third country solution was identified and a group of 172 women and children benefitted from this solution last week.
"While we are seeking further clarifications on what happened exactly, we are shocked by this deportation of some 100 people and consider it a flagrant violation of international law," said Volker Türk, UNHCR's Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, who is currently in the region.
"I strongly urge the Thai authorities to investigate this matter and appeal to Thailand to honor its fundamental international obligations, notably the principle of non-refoulement, and to refrain from such deportations in the future," he added.
UNHCR urges the Royal Thai Government in the strongest possible terms to allow those remaining to depart voluntarily and as soon as possible to a country of their choice which is willing to receive them.
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US condemns Thailand for Uighur deportation Washington (AFP) - The United States condemned Thailand on Thursday for its deportation of 100 ethnic Uighurs to China and warned they could face "harsh treatment," as the international incident inflames diplomatic tensions.The US "expressed our grave disappointment to Thailand," State Department spokesman John Kirby said."We condemn Thailand's forced deportation on July 9 of over 100 ethnic Uighurs to China, where they could face harsh treatment and a lack of due process," the department said in a statement. The fate of a group of Uighurs in Thailand had been in doubt after Thailand sentenced them for illegal entry to the country in 2014.Thailand announced the deportation Thursday of the Uighurs, a Muslim minority in China's northwest who speak Turkic and have often opposed Chinese control.It was also revealed that some of the group had been sent to Turkey in June. Anti-Chinese protesters stormed the Thai consulate in Istanbul in protest of the controversial deportation, the latest demonstration in the country over China's treatment of Uighurs. Human rights groups say Uighurs who flee China face possible torture and other abuses if returned. There are around 10 million Uighurs in China's northwest Xinjiang region and many say they face cultural and religious repression. "This action runs counter to Thailand’s international obligations as  well as its long-standing practice of providing safe haven to vulnerable persons," the State Department said in the statement, urging the country to halt further deportations.Aid organizations should have "unfettered" access to the Uighurs and Thailand should respect its international obligations not to expel refugees, the US said. "We urge Thailand to allow those remaining ethnic Uighurs to depart voluntarily to a country of their choice."


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