Uyghur men at risk of deportation from Saudi Arabia to China, Human Rights Watch says

By James Moules

TWO Uyghur men face risk of grave human rights abuses if they are deported by Saudi Arabia to China, a leading human rights organisation has said.

Human Rights Watch said a source informed them on January 3, 2022 that Uyghur Nurmemet Rozi was told by a Saudi official he “should be mentally prepared to be deported to China in a few days.”

The daughter of the other man, scholar Hemdullah Abduweli, shared a video on social media stating the two are at imminent risk of deportation.

Both men, who are residents of Turkey, have reportedly been detained in Saudi Arabia without charges since November 2020.

Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said: “If Saudi Arabia deports these two Uyghur men, it will be sending a clear message that it stands arm-in-arm with the Chinese government and its crimes against humanity targeting Turkic Muslims.

“Deporting people to places where they would face arbitrary detention, torture, or worse, risks further tarnishing Saudi Arabia’s global human rights image.”

Human rights abuses in China of the Uyghurs, a Muslim majority group who mostly reside in the westernmost province of Xinjiang, have been extensively reported over the past half-decade.

As many as one million Uyghurs are reported to have been detained in camps, with evidence suggesting many have been subjected to forced labour, torture and forced sterilisation.

Numerous international observers, as well as the governments of countries including the United States, have labelled the atrocities as genocide.

China denies human rights abuses against the Uyghurs, claiming the camps are educational facilities.

In 2019, Saudi Arabia was among the signatories of a letter in support of China’s policies in Xinjiang.

Page added: “The Saudi leader Mohammed bin Salman’s apparent endorsement of China’s persecution of Uyghurs is bad enough, but his government should not play a direct role in it by deporting back Uyghur men to possible arbitrary detention and torture.”

The London embassies of Saudi Arabia and China were contacted for comment.

Featured Image: Pixabay

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