Global lawmakers call on Saudi Arabia to block forcible return of Uyghurs

UN human rights experts had also called on Saudi government to uphold its obligations not to extradite two Chinese nationals

New Delhi: A global alliance of global parliamentarians have written a letter to Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud to express their concern about the ongoing cases of two men of Uyghur Muslim ethnicity in the country.

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Abduweli and Rozi, both originally from the Xinjiang province in China, were arrested on November 20, 2020, by the Saudi local police, while they were in Saudi Arabia for religious reasons.

The arrest was allegedly carried out after the Chinese Embassy in Saudi Arabia had requested their extradition.

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“We, Co-Chairs of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), write to you to express our concern about the ongoing cases of Nurmemet Rozi and Hemdullah Abduweli,” the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) wrote.

“We understand that Abduweli and Rozi are currently detained in Saudi Arabia and are at imminent risk of being forcibly returned to China. Additionally, it has come to our attention that acts of reprisal have been taken against family members of the two men,” IPAC added.

The global parliamentarians said China is carrying out a global campaign of threats and intimidation against Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers, Chinese dissidents and other activists abroad.

They argued that those extradited or deported to China will not face a fair trial and are at severe risk of persecution, arbitrary detention and torture.

“We urge you to oppose the forcible return of Abduweli, Rozi and their relatives, and to ensure that those targeted by the PRC government are protected from any threats, intimidation and harassment at the hands of the PRC government in your jurisdiction,” they said.

UN human rights experts on April 1 had also called on the Saudi government to uphold its obligations not to extradite two Chinese nationals belonging to the Uyghur minority, saying they risked serious violations of their human rights if they are returned to China.

“We are alarmed by the arrest of two Uyghur men in Saudi Arabia, since November 2020, and their continuous detention without proper legal justification or implementation of fundamental safeguards, reportedly on the basis of an extradition request made by China,” the experts said.

Rights groups say there are widespread atrocities committed against Muslims of the Uyghurs community in Xinjiang, China.

Since 2017, the Chinese government is said to have detained about 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in hundreds of “re-education camps” in Xinjiang. Beijing continues to deny all charges.

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