L’Associazione Americana Uiguri (UAA) accoglie di buon grado il ritorno senza complicazioni dell’attivista uiguro dei diritti umani Dolkun Isa in Germania dopo che la Korea del Sud aveva rifiutato di lasciar entrare Isa nel Paese il 15 settembre scorso.
Segue il comunicato dell’Associazione Americana Uiguri
The Uyghur American Association (UAA) welcomes the safe return of Uyghur human rights activist Dolkun Isa to Germany following South Korea/s refusal to let Isa, a German citizen, enter the country on September 15. Isa had traveled to Seoul in order to attend a private conference organized by the World Forum for Democratization in Asia (WFDA).
Isa is the secretary general of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), based in Germany, an organization dedicated to the peaceful promotion of democracy and human rights for Uyghurs. Isa fled persecution in China in 1997 and was given asylum in Germany the same year. He became a German citizen in 2006. He has traveled abroad frequently since the late 1990s to speak about human rights conditions in East Turkestan.
Isa, who has been on a Chinese government list of wanted terrorists since 2003, was prevented from leaving Incheon International airport in Seoul to attend the WFDA conference, which ran from September 15-17. His wife, who arrived in Seoul on the same flight, was allowed to attend the WFDA conference. While South Korean authorities reportedly told Mr. Isa that he would be interrogated, no interrogation took place, and Mr. Isa was prevented from boarding a flight out of the country for several days, in contravention of international law.
“The Chinese government has actively sought to silence the voices of peaceful Uyghurs in other countries, for fear the international community will learn about the plight of the Uyghur people and the Chinese government/s systematic persecution of Uyghurs will be exposed,” said Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer. “Most disturbingly, the Chinese regime has intensified its efforts to sway democratic countries such as Australia, Japan and now South Korea to prevent our voices from being heard.”
UAA is grateful for the tremendous support shown by a number of individuals and groups who expressed concern about Mr. Isa/s situation, including German diplomatic officials; Amnesty International; the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization; the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission; the National Endowment for Democracy; Italian Senator Marco Perduca; and the World Forum for Democracy in Asia.
The Chinese government has aggressively attacked the World Uyghur Congress in its official media, particularly since July 5, when unrest began sweeping through Urumchi, the regional capital of East Turkestan. Chinese officials, rather than investigating the root causes of the unrest rocking the region, blamed the violence in East Turkestan on the World Uyghur Congress and its president Rebiya Kadeer. Residents of East Turkestan report that state television repeatedly displayed images of Ms. Kadeer and Mr. Isa, among other WUC figures, charging that they had orchestrated the unrest- a charge that has remained unsubstantiated.
In its campaign to vilify all dissent among Uyghurs, however peaceful, the Chinese government has labeled nearly all Uyghur organizations as terrorist groups, and has placed tremendous emphasis on the threat of “terrorism” in East Turkestan, without providing credible evidence of a threat. In the era of the “war on terror”, China has used its influence as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to seek the return of Uyghurs from neighboring countries and has attempted to influence overseas Uyghur activists by harassing their family members who remain in East Turkestan.
As noted by the Wall Street Journal[i], South Korea has demonstrated sensitivity about upsetting China, its largest trading partner, in the past.
The Chinese government reacted with vitriol to Ms. Kadeer/s recent trips to Australia and Japan, and protested the Australian screenings of a documentary about her life entitled “Ten Conditions of Love”. A Chinese consular official called the director of the Melbourne International Film Festival to request that the film not be shown, and Chinese officials threatened to sever the 29-year-old sister-city relationship between Melbourne and Tianjin. China also cancelled the visit of Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei, who was to attend a regional forum in Australia in August. In response to Ms. Kadeer/s visit to Japan, China rejected a requested port call in Hong Kong by Japan/s navy.
In a practice that began before September 11, but that has accelerated in the past eight years, SCO member and observer states have assisted the Chinese government in tracking down Uyghur political activists and extraditing them to China, where they face serious human rights violations, including torture, unfair trials, and execution. In all of these cases, China and its neighboring states are in violation of the principle of non-refoulement under international law, which protects refugees from being returned to places where their lives or freedom could be threatened.
Uyghur Human Rights Project
Uyghur American Association
1701 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Suite 300
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