UN Human Rights Experts Condemn Planned Extradition of Uyghurs to China
UN human rights experts call upon Saudi Arabia not to extradite Chinese nationals belonging to the Uyghur minority back to China.
Two United Nations human rights experts, the Special Rapporteur on minority issues (Fernand de Varennes) and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief (Ahmed Shaheed) issued a joint statement calling on the government of Saudi Arabia to uphold its obligations not to extradite Chinese nationals belonging to the Uyghur minority back to China. The two men in question had fled China out of fear of arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and ill-treatment. The two men were later arrested in Saudi Arabia and held without proper legal justification on the basis of an extradition request by China.
In their statement, the experts assert that the two men may face serious human rights violations if extradited to China, and that Saudi Arabia must uphold its obligation of nonrefoulement under international law.
According to the experts, "The prohibition of refoulement is absolute and non-derogable under international human rights and refugee law. States are obliged not to remove any individual from their territory when there are substantial grounds for believing that the person could be subjected to serious human rights violations in the State of destination, including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights. In view of the credible risk of grave violations, both for their membership of an ethnic and religious minority, Saudi Arabia is required to undertake an individual, impartial and independent assessment of risks, and provide prompt and transparent access to safeguards, including the ability to challenge the deportation decision."
The experts also expressed concern over alleged acts of reprisals against members of the families of the two men present in Saudi Arabia.
The full statement is available on the website of the OHCHR.