Category Archives: refugees

March 4th: TibetWatch

A few organizations are reporting either one or two self-immolations yesterday. RFA:

A Tibetan widow and a middle school girl set themselves on fire and died at the weekend in China’s Sichuan and Gansu provinces in self-immolation protests demanding freedom and an end to Chinese rule, according to sources on Sunday.

On Sunday, a 32-year-old widow and mother of three, identified as Rinchen, torched herself in front of the restive Kirti monastery in Sichuan’s Ngaba (in Chinese, Aba) prefecture, succumbing to her burns on the spot, the sources said.

She set herself on fire right in front of a Chinese police surveillance station at the main gate of the Kirti monastery, which has been under siege by Chinese security forces and from where hundreds of monks have been taken into custody since early last year.

On Saturday, a girl from the Tibetan Middle School self-immolated at a vegetable market in Machu (in Chinese, Maqu) county in Gansu province’s Kaniho (in Chinese, Gannan) Tibetan autonomous prefecture, an exile source said, quoting local contacts.

The Chinese vendors alerted the police who urged them to prevent her from leaving the market, the source said.

“The Chinese vendors at the Machu vegetable market threw stones at her burning body,” the source said, adding that the girl died at the scene.

“The Tibetans present in the market were agitated and this almost resulted in a major clash between the Tibetans and Chinese,” the source said.

I believe this is the first immolation to take place in Gansu, and I wonder if this might be what finally sets off unrest in Labrang. We’ll see how provincial authorities handle it.

High Peaks Pure Earth has a translation of a lengthy post by Woeser, which is dedicated to the Tibetan pilgrims who were put into detention after returning from India. Even by Chinese government standards this entire thing is extremely gauche:

When the initiation was concluded the faithful from inside Tibet dispersed and set out on the return journey to their homes there. They had worn themselves out just to get passports and their route had been plagued with hardship, until finally they obtained the nourishing nectar of the buddha dharma at the holy site. They had a brief moment of happiness, never imagining that there would be a later “settling of scores;” that this would set in motion an experience of mental and physical torment.

First, when they returned via Nepal, whether they arrived at one of several airports or at the border crossing point of Dram, they were all interrogated and searched by Chinese military and police. Buddhist ritual objects, such as scriptures, etc., that they were carrying with them as well as presents that they’d bought, such as Tibetan medicines, etc., were all indiscriminately confiscated.

It is understood that many of the faithful whose homes were in Amdo and Kham were taken as a group to Lhasa and sent together via the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to their individual regions. Afterwards each individual had to be vouched for by two cadres in their home areas. Only then could they return to their own families. In addition, the faithful from Amdo and Kham who have returned most recently from India and Nepal were placed under uniform supervision and sent to Shigatse to receive 7 days of “education.” Afterwards they were sent back home together.

And Lhasa: any Tibetans who attended the initiation encountered even bigger troubles. Of these, the overwhelming majority was elderly: retired cadres as well as urban residents and farmers from the outskirts of the city. And there were also middle-aged and young people. First they were summoned by their local neighbourhood committees or work units jointly with the relevant police station. Every person was interrogated by staff people from the neighbourhood committees or work units together with Public Security Bureau police. The important questions included: Whom did you see at the Kalacakra Inititation? What did the Dalai Lama, Samdhong Rinpoche and the newly-elected Kalon Tripa say exactly? Which people from here did you run into at the inititation? How much money did you give in offerings for the inititation, to the Dalai Lama and other Rinpoches? Etc., etc.

She continues on to describe everything China is doing to the pilgrims. Peter Ford from CSM on the acute difficulty of being a journalist in China:

The obvious way for a foreign reporter to find out what is really happening in Xinjiang or Sichuan would be to go there and talk to people. But that is not as easy as it sounds.

We are allowed to go to Xinjiang, but when I reported from there I found very few Uighurs brave enough to risk the punishment they feared if they were found to have talked to me. Never, in 30 years of reporting from five continents, have I found it so difficult to be a journalist. And after my return to Beijing, I discovered that plainclothes policemen had secretly followed me every step of my weeklong trip.

The government allows journalists to go to Sichuan, too, but police have set up roadblocks around the region where unrest is reportedly greatest, and turned back all the foreign reporters they have found.

A few correspondents have sneaked through the roadblocks, hidden under blankets or otherwise concealed (a shout out to Jon Watts of the Guardian, Tom Lasseter of McClatchy, and Gillian Wong of the AP, who have recently managed to get into closed areas), but they were unable to stay long or to talk to many people. They had to bear in mind that if they were caught, the people with whom they were caught talking would get into unknown amounts of trouble with the authorities.

Finally, a piece from Hindustan Times about Tibetan refugees in India:

Videos and photographs of the burning monks and nuns have circulated worldwide despite local authorities nipping the Internet and telephone network. Foreign journalists are barred from visiting the restive regions to verify what’s going on. The monks are coming to India, home to 100,000 exiled Tibetans, and disclosing their versions. Phuntsok mapped his journey from Kham to Lhasa to the border-town Dum to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu to Delhi to Dharmashala after surviving knuckle-crushing beatings and electric shocks for one month and seven days in a Chinese prison last summer. He was 17. The monk shouting slogans by his side was 15. Their crime: holding a placard scrawled with slogans for the long life and return of the Dalai Lama.

“The police and military came soon after my friend and I raised slogans,” he said. “I knew I’d be put behind bars. But I did it because being Tibetan, I felt like I had contributed something for Tibet.”

Since the Lhasa riots of 2008, which Beijing blamed on the Dalai Lama’s office, the China-Nepal border is so tightly secured that less than 1,000 Tibetans per year are coming to Dharamshala, compared to thrice as many before 2008.

Tibetans caught on the Nepal border are known to be sent to jails in Lhasa and transported back to their hometowns. An 18-year-old was the last monk to arrive from the Kirti monastery town in southern Sichuan — the locked down centre of the standoff between Buddhist monks and the Chinese military — to Kirti monastery in Dharamshala.

Wrapped up to his chin in maroon robes, he cited anxiety about the family he left behind and declines to reveal his real name. His fake name is Doung Tug, and within a year he has lost a half-brother and a classmate to self-immolations for the Tibetan cause. “I came to India to enjoy freedom, he said.

Talking about his half brother Rigzin Dorje, 19, Tug said, “His plan was to raise his own family and live the nomad’s life,” Tug said. Last month, he stood outside a school and burnt himself. As the boy ended his narrative of the Chinese military and plainclothes police inside monasteries and forced ‘patriotic re-education’ lessons to denounce the Dalai Lama, an older monk spoke up.

“Many more Tibetans, not just from Kirti monastery, but from all over Tibet,” said Kanyag Tsering, a monk in contact with his counterparts in China’s Kirti, “want to come to India.”

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“Up to 10,000 Myanmar refugees seek refuge in China”

Reuters reports that refugees from the fighting in northern Myanmar are spilling into Yunnan:

Up to 10,000 refugees have fled to an area in southwestern Yunnan province, driven by fighting between Myanmar’s military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), one of the country’s most powerful rebel groups, five aid groups told Reuters. Many of the refugeees are women, children and elderly people.

Fighting erupted after a 17-year-old ceasefire broke down last June, sending ethnic Kachins fleeing to the border area.

Although the intensity of the fighting has eased, aid groups fear that more people will flee and exacerbate dire conditions. The Chinese government tolerates the camps, but does not officially recognise their existence.

The risk of fighting spreading across the highly militarised border region and of the arrival of new waves of refugees are particular worries for China’s stability-obsessed rulers.

Although long wary of poor, unstable Myanmar, China has invested heavily in the country. It has brushed off Western sanctions to build infrastructure, hydropower dams and twin oil-and-gas pipelines to help feed southern China’s growing energy needs and avoid the Malacca Strait shipping bottleneck.

Yunnan provincial authorities have told the refugees to leave, but have not threatened force or sealed the border, aid groups said.

“It poses a dilemma for the Chinese; it could cause strained relations with the Burmese government if they are seen as being supportive of the Kachin Independence Army, KIA, and by extension the refugees,” Bertil Lintner, a Myanmar expert, said in emailed comments.

“On the other hand, they can’t be too hostile to the Kachins, and the Kachin refugees, either.”

“At the moment, what we know is that there is no such situation,” Li Hui, director of the Yunnan information office, told Reuters. “Everything is normal on the China-Myanmar border.”

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“China’s Latest Bid to Flex Its Regional Muscle”

Ellen Bork has an article in The New Republic about Tibetan refugees in Nepal. The latest political developments might go either way for them, she says:

But the Chinese are influencing other aspects of Nepal’s relationship with their local Tibetan community. In response to Chinese pressure, Nepal has curtailed Tibetan religious and cultural activities and attempted to intimidate the local representative of the Dalai Lama. Just this year on October 18, two of the local representative’s aides and other Tibetan community leaders were briefly detained by police in connection with a memorial service for a former tutor of the Dalai Lama who lived in exile outside Kathmandu. At the same time, a U.S. State Department official visiting from Washington encountered a police presence while visiting a Tibetan settlement. And actions against activities Beijing calls “anti-China” tend to increase around the time of high level China-Nepal meetings. Any activity related to the Tibetan government-in-exile is especially targeted. Last year, Nepalese police seized 10,000 ballots cast in the elections for the exile government’s new Kalon Tripa, or chief minister. Public demonstrations in support of Tibet, ceremonies marking the Dalai Lama’s birthday, and even a Tibetan opera production have been shut down by Nepalese authorities. Conditions for Tibetans in Nepal are not comparable to those in Tibet, but the wave of desperate self-immolations inside Tibet has now spread to exile communities, with incidents in Kathmandu and Delhi.

So far, the issue of the treatment of Tibetans has not become a major concern among Nepalis. “That happens all the time,” I heard more than once from Nepalese political analysts and foreign policy experts. And China’s soft power expansion, including establishing Confucius Institutes in Nepal and courting Nepalese journalists with junkets to China, has had an impact on swaying attitudes. But some Nepalese journalists like Sradda Thapa, a columnist for the daily newspaper Republica, have argued that Nepal’s new democratic political situation ought to result in increased protection for Tibetans. “Did we not get an extensive makeover when the constitutional monarchy was christened a federal democratic republic?” Thapa argued in a November 3 column. “We are a sovereign state and it puzzles my generation—who were taught to value democracy—to witness our government deny the same to Tibetans in Nepal.”

Indeed, Nepal’s response to China’s demands doesn’t just speak to China’s increased influence in the region; it’s also an important indicator of the extent to which Nepal’s fragile democracy will prove capable of maintaining its sovereignty.

Obviously Chinese pressure will continue, but a government less inclined to reflexively favor China (instead of seeking to balance China and India) might not give in to them quite so often. We’ll see.

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“Difficult days ahead”

Worrying news from Nepal via the Telegraph Nepal, which reports that Chinese pressure may bring about even stricter controls on Tibetan refugees:

Reports coming from Ministry of Home Affairs have it that the Tibetan refugees living in Nepal will have difficult and trying times ahead. The government will soon review its policies on the Tibetan refugees that is likely to be more stringent, reports confirm.

Spokesperson Sudhir Kumar Sah of the Home Ministry tells Rajdhani Daily, November 13, 2011, that “The government is in a very difficult situation since the Tibetans have begun setting themselves on fire. The government of Nepal is committed on its one China policy. We will not allow any activities that go against the interest of our neighbors. This will lead to a situation where the government may have to slash all the facilities being granted to the Tibetans residing in Nepal, such as that of their freedom to move even.”

Sah also made it clear that the government may decide to put a ban on their business activities and their free movement.

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“Nepal releases 23 Tibetan refugees to care of U.N., rejects Chinese request to forcibly and illegally return them to Tibet”

Via ICT, some good news:

Today, Nepalese authorities turned over a group of 23 Tibetan refugees who had been held by the Department of Immigration to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR). It is expected that the group will be processed and sent to India shortly, where they will come under the care of the Central Tibetan Administration, as per the well established system for handling Tibetan refugees fleeing into exile.

“This group is safe from the danger of being sent back to Tibet, thanks to the work of the UNHCR, Nepalese lawyers and NGOs, and governments, notably the United States and the EU,” said Mary Beth Markey, President of the International Campaign for Tibet.

The 23 Tibetan refugees had been detained by Nepalese immigration authorities since September 11-13. Under normal procedures, the group would have been promptly handed over to the UNHCR for processing and onward transit to India. However, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu intervened and demanded that the Tibetans be released into Chinese custody for return to Tibet. Such forcible return would be a violation of international law, given the credible fear of prosecution and torture of those sent back.

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“Chinese interference delays transit of 23 Tibetan refugees detained in Kathmandu”

ICT reports that we may have spoken too soon- apparently the group of refugees who crossed the border last week are being delayed now:

Human rights monitors and foreign diplomats in Nepal who monitor the situation for Tibetan refugees transiting from Tibet through Nepal are concerned for the safety of 23 Tibetan refugees in custody in Kathmandu, Nepal. The group of Tibetans has not been turned over by Nepalese authorities to the UNHCR, as per established protocols, and the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu has written a letter demanding that the Tibetans be released into Chinese custody for return to Tibet.

The 23 Tibetans were arrested by Nepalese police on September 11-13 after they crossed the border from Tibet, brought down to Kathmandu and turned over to Nepal’s Department of Immigration (DOI) in Nepal. They remain in the custody of the DOI, contravening established protocols that Tibetans crossing into Nepalese territory are promptly handed over to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) for processing and onward transit to India. The group includes eight minors (ages 13-17).

According to local sources who have interviewed them, all of the Tibetans appear to be legitimate refugees and have given reasons for escape that are consistent with thousands of other accounts over previous decades, including to see the Dalai Lama.

Under the established ‘Gentlemen’s Agreement’ between the Nepal government and the UNHCR, Tibetans who enter Nepalese territory from Tibet are to be given over to the care of the UNHCR and expeditiously allowed to travel onward to India.

Tibetan refugees brought to Kathmandu are provided temporary refuge at the UNHCR-funded Tibetan Refugee Transit Center. Tibetans registered as “persons of concern” by the UNHCR enter a system administered by the Central Tibetan Administration through which they are placed in age-appropriate care and schooling or monastic institutions in Tibetan settlements throughout India.

Nepal should have just shunted them out quickly- the longer they sit there, the more interest their case will garner, and the more flak Nepal will receive from one side or the other depending on what their final decision is.

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Nepal arrests Tibetan teens for illegal entry

Tendar Tsering at Phayul has news that a number of Tibetans have been arrested by Nepal, which has recently been disregarding previous agreements on the treatment of Tibetan refugees thanks to pressure from China. It looks like this time they’ll be escorted safely through to India, though:

Barely weeks after Kathmandu assured Beijing of sustained crackdown on anti-China activities on its soil, the Nepali government arrested 20 Tibetan teenagers for entering the country illegally from Tibet, Sunday.

The Agency France Presse (AFP) reported that 15 Tibetan boys and five girls, aged 16 to 18 were stopped at a remote western Himalayan village in Nepal after crossing the border from Tibet on foot.

Nepali police started chasing them after they were seen at Pandusen Saturday night. They had reached the border district after trekking for 16 days.

According to the news agency, a police official is accompanying the teens to Kathmandu where they will be handed over to the immigration authorities in Nepal.

It is reported that the teens are expected to be given safe passage to India, which hosts the exile headquarters of the Tibetans.

Typically arriving Tibetans are given some time at the Reception Center, where a small medical staff treats them for any injuries sustained during the trip- cases of frostbite are common. Then they’re supposed to be registered and sent onwards to Dharamsala, India.

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“China: Account for Forcibly Returned Uighurs”

HRW is getting on China’s case about the surging numbers of Uyghur refugees who are returned to China and then promptly disappear:

Malaysia forcibly returned at least 11 Uighurs on August 6. On the same day, the Thai government turned over an ethnic Uighur, Nur Muhammed, to Chinese diplomats in Bangkok. On August 8, Pakistan deported five blindfolded and handcuffed Uighurs, including a woman and two children, to China, media reports said.

“Uighurs disappear into a black hole after being deported to China,” said Bill Frelick, Refugee Program director at Human Rights Watch. “We want to know what happens to them once they are in the hands of the Chinese authorities.”

Human Rights Watch called on the Chinese government to account for the legal status and well-being of Uighurs who have been forcibly returned from Malaysia, Thailand, and Pakistan, as well as those earlier returned from Kazakhstan and Cambodia.

China’s efforts to pressure governments to return Uighurs summarily without affording them due process rights, including the right to seek asylum, are incompatible with China’s international legal obligations, Human Rights Watch said. China is a member of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ Executive Committee and is a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, as well as other international human rights treaties.

Human Rights Watch called on the Chinese government to account for the whereabouts, conditions, and legal status of the following people believed to have been forcibly returned to China:
The 11 Uighurs deported from Malaysia on August 6;
Nur Muhammed, deported from Thailand on August 6;
Muhammed Tohti Metrozi, a Uighur deported from Pakistan in July 2003, and the six Uighurs deported from Pakistan on August 8, including Manzokra Mamad;
The 20 Uighurs deported from Cambodia on December 29, 2009;
Four Uighurs deported from Kazakhstan, including Ahmet Memet and Turgun Abbas in December 2001, Abdukakhar Idris in April or May 2003, and Ershidin Israel on May 30, 2011; and
Abdu Allah Sattar and Kheyum Whashim Ali, deported from Nepal in 2002.

I really hope they’re all still alive…

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“Kathmandu is turning into a dangerous place for Tibetans”

Kate Saunders of ICT has a piece out in The Sunday Guardian about the increasing difficulty Tibetans have in escaping to India:

Beijing’s influence over the Nepalese government, border forces, the judicial system and civil society at a time of political transition in Nepal signify that Tibetans in Nepal are increasingly vulnerable, demoralised and at risk of arrest and repatriation. Last year, Tibetan refugees, mainly women and including two sick children, had to hide in a forest in Nepal while Chinese armed police searched for them — after Nepalese police had started to transport them back to the Tibet-Nepal border. Tibetans in Nepal — the world’s second largest Tibetan community in exile after India — are experiencing harassment and extortion, more restrictions on their movements and greater difficulty securing education and jobs than ever before.

In one well-known incident in 2003, 18 Tibetans under UNHCR protection were taken from prison in Kathmandu by the Chinese embassy and driven to the border and into Tibet. Some months later, I met one of the young Tibetans among this group in a transit centre providing temporary shelter and food for Tibetans who arrive in exile. Among the mattresses on the floor and the sole possessions of the refugees in paper bags and plastic suitcases somehow carried across the most forbidding mountain ranges in the world, a young Tibetan boy was curled up in a corner, studying English letters in a notebook. Eighteen-year-old Gyaltsen told us that right after they were taken across the border, he and the rest of the group were manacled and driven to prison. He was beaten and tortured, and forced to carry out hard labour. After he was released, he risked further imprisonment by making the long journey into exile via Nepal again — determined to join his parents, who had arrived safely in India.

Despite his bleak surroundings, Gyaltsen looked immaculate in a smart, buttoned-up grey waistcoat and pressed trousers. I wrote what he said in my notebook: “Living in Tibet is like being in a very dark room, with just a glimmering of light that is the possibility of escape to India. I had to walk towards that light.”

Nepal is an essential gateway for Tibetans to escape from persecution into exile. Since a violent crackdown was imposed in Tibet from March, 2008 onwards, the number of Tibetan refugees reaching Nepal has decreased dramatically from around 2,500-3,500 a year to less than a thousand a year. Now, they are not only in danger on the Chinese side of the border, but also face new risks to their safety on the Nepalese side — despite an existing agreement with the UNHCR that should guarantee their transit to India.

Increasingly, there are indications that many of those in Nepal’s professional elite are concerned about China’s assertive actions in Nepal’s sovereign territory, recognising that acquiescence to Chinese demands directly threatens the integrity of Nepalese processes and institutions. Within Nepalese civil society, there are some moves to create legislation on the issue of status of Tibetans in Nepal and refugee rights.

Nepalese human rights monitors who are supportive of the Tibetans’ plight point out that their government’s actions run counter to close cultural and religious ties between the Nepalese and Tibetans dating back to the 6th century.

Again, this is one issue where American and Indian and UN pressure could counter Chinese efforts relatively easily, and produce real-world results for people who already have enough problems as is. I’d also hope that the Nepalese public might get a bit more active on rejecting Chinese influence- the gifts Beijing hands out always come with a huge price.

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“Hunting Uighurs Across Asia”

The subheading of this WSJ piece puts it best: “China outsources human rights abuses to its neighbors.”

Last week the Malaysian government deprived 11 Chinese citizens of their right to seek refugee status and deported them back to China. That Kuala Lumpur failed to honor its obligations to respect refugee rights is no surprise: The men were Uighurs, an ethnic minority who had fled the restive territory of Xinjiang to escape political persecution.

Over the last several years, East Asian and Central Asian countries have bowed to Beijing’s pressure and returned Uighurs to China with no questions asked. Once there, they disappear into the prison system where they are often tortured and can face execution.

The trend seems to be accelerating. Earlier this month Thailand deported a Uighur man, Nur Muhammed, and Pakistan sent back five Uighurs, including a mother and two small children. Vietnam, Laos, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have also repatriated Uighurs in recent years.

In 2009, Cambodian officials assured the U.S. ambassador that they would not repatriate a group of Uighur asylum-seekers, only days before the police took 20 of them at gun-point and put them on a “VIP plane” to China. China pledged the legal proceedings against them would be transparent but reneged on that promise. Two days later, it granted Cambodia $1.2 billion in aid, more than the cumulative total in the previous 17 years.

China is using its diplomatic and economic clout to outsource its human rights abuses against Uighurs to its neighbors’ territories. But even as it extends the reach of its secret police, it is also giving those neighbors an education in the ruthlessness of its methods. It’s no wonder that they are increasingly worried by China’s rise.

It’s really time for them to take collective action, because the alternative is to be bullied one by one. Perhaps none of them care enough about the plight of Uighur refugees to take a stand, but countries dealing with the “U-shaped line,” for example, have an interest in protecting each other.

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“ICT annual refugee report finds Tibetans at risk in Nepal”

Nepal is the natural choice for Tibetans looking to flee China: it stretches along most of the southern Tibetan border and has a number of ethnically Tibetan communities, and the Nepalese government has traditionally been quite helpful to Tibetan refugees. Over the last few years much of that has changed, however, with the new Maoist government seeking to gain Chinese aid and favor by cracking down on Tibetans in transit. The International Campaign for Tibet has published their annual report on the situation:

In 2010, security along the Tibet-Nepal border, enhanced in preparation for the lighting of the 2008 Olympic torch lighting on Mt. Everest, was further entrenched. The numbers of Tibetan refugees successfully reaching the Tibetan Refugee Transit Center in Kathmandu, in sharp decline since 2008, were slightly higher than in 2009.

In June 2010, a group of seven Tibetans, including a 7 year-old girl and 12 year-old boy, were pursued through Nepalese territory by Chinese armed police. In July, reports reached Kathmandu of the forcible return of three Tibetan refugees, apprehended and flown to Tibet by helicopter accompanied by a Nepalese politician and a policeman, was the first case of refoulement, prohibited by international law, since 2003.

Although Nepal is not a signatory to the U.N. Convention and Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees, the principle of non-refoulement – the prohibition against the forcible return of refugees to a place where their lives or liberty could be threatened – is an international norm and is specifically included in the U.N. Convention against Torture to which Nepal is a party. Tibetans who are forcibly returned face detention, summary torture, and possible imprisonment.

The lack of action on this from both UN agencies and governments which could easily act to neutralize some of Beijing’s influence has been quite disappointing. It’s a very concrete step they could take which would unambiguously help people. Tibetans on the run have enough to worry about without needing to wonder if Nepalese police will fly them straight back to the gulags.

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“Fabricated Evidence Used in Deportation”

Uyghur rights groups have been up in arms about the case of Ershidin Israil, a Uyghur man who tried to escape China but was recently deported back by the Kazakh government. It should be noted that Uyghur refugees have ended up in a number of neighboring countries- unlike Tibetan exiles who make use of the India-based Central Tibetan Administration, Uyghurs fleeing China have no central group to protect them. Thus, they find themselves scattered across a number of Central Asian countries, and occasionally in real trouble- witness the fate of a number of Uyghur refugees found in Afghanistan and mistaken for Al Qaeda operatives by American armed forces. They’ve been rotting in Guantanamo ever since despite having cleared their names, which would deeply shame the United States if the United States had any shame. RFA reports on this recent deportation:

Documents used by Kazakhstan as grounds to deport an ethnic Uyghur to China were irrelevant and doctored, according to the man’s brother and a Uyghur rights activist.

Ershidin Israil, a 38-year-old former geography teacher, was initially given refugee status by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and accepted for resettlement by Sweden after having fled on foot across the border to Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in July 2009.

But the UNHCR later stripped him of his refugee status, paving the way for Kazakhstan to deport him to Xinjiang, where he is likely to face punishment for exposing the torture and death of a fellow Uyghur in a Chinese prison.

Anne Enochsson, a Swedish MP, has demanded that her country’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs conduct an investigation into how Israil was allowed to be deported to China when he had been accepted for resettlement.

“Now Sweden is directly involved in an asylum case and therefore should stand up for human rights,” she said in a statement.

“When the U.N. fails, Sweden must have the courage to stand up against the methods of dictatorships.”

The Chinese documents detailing Israil’s alleged crimes of terrorism were obtained by his lawyer, Yuri Sergeivich Stukanov, and provided to RFA by Israil’s sister-in-law, Asiye Kerimova.

They were released shortly after a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday that Israil had been extradited to China where he is being held on charges of “terrorism.”

World Uyghur Congress General Secretary Dolkun Isa said evidence used against Israil was fabricated and “typical” of the Chinese approach to targeting dissidents.

“According to the documents, only two items of evidence determined Ershidin Israil’s fate of deportation. One is a photo of him wearing a long beard, which was made artificially. Another is linking him to a so-called terrorist, Repket Abdukerim,” Isa said.

He said Abdukerim was not known as having taken part in any pro-Uyghur activities or organizations.

“It’s the first time I have heard this name. Probably he was on China’s blacklist and his information has not been publicized yet, or he was newly added to the blacklist in order to fabricate the story according to China’s needs,” Isa said.

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