Open Letter to Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Ahmad Zahid Hamidi ;
Malaysia, Please don’t Deport 11 Uyghur Muslims to China !
I understand that Malaysia must look out for its own interests, and the interests of its people is first priority to the Malaysian government. I understand that Malaysia-China relations are important. I also understand that China’s growing influence in the region and the world put pressures on states like Malaysia to comply with Chinese requests or face considerable consequences. Complying with China’s outrageous requests may help further Malaysia-China relations. Yet I implore you not to refoul the 11 Uyghur Muslims who sought refuge in Malaysia.
Have mercy on the 11 Uyghurs in your custody. Have mercy on their families. Have mercy on the Uyghur diaspora community, awaiting the fair decision of the Malaysian government on this matter. I don’t think I need to go into detail about the danger the men face if returned to China. Suffice to say, there’s not a trace of those Uyghurs China took from Cambodia 2009 and Thailand in 2015. It’s no longer a secret to the world that they have been forcibly disappeared. The plight of the Uyghurs has only intensified since then. Today China detains hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs – at least one member of every Uyghur family – in “re-education” detention centers, where they are facing coercion, torture and even death.
Deputy Prime Minister, you’ve told the media that Malaysia is investigating whether the 11 Uyghur men were involved in any terror activities. If you rely on Chinese sources, then every Uyghur is, without doubt, a terrorist. If states like Malaysia accepts China’s labeling of the Uyghurs as terrorists, then not just Uyghur human rights activists like myself but even those who dare to speak of human rights are guilty in China’s eyes. China’s sentencing of Professor Ilham Tohti to life imprisonment as the international community stood witness illustrates my point. To act in conformity with China’s desires is tantamount toturning a blind eye to the inhuman condition of the Uyghurswho have nowhere to flee, nobody to ask for help and nothing to rely on. Thebare existence of the Uyghurs is currently reduced nothing but unbearable suffering and endless hopelessness.
China has condemned Uyghurs on false charges before using forced false testimony and police records to imprison and execute them. They did that to Canadian citizen HuseyinCelil, to ErshidinIsrail when Kazakhstan handed him over to China, and many other Uyghur refugees over the past decade. The 11 Uyghurs in Malaysia will face the same tragic fate if they are refouled.
These truths are evident to the international community, and I hope they influence your decision on the fate of the 11 Uyghurs in your custody. I know I am not the ambassador of a powerful state. I am just a human rights activist who serves as a voice for an oppressed people. But I know I stand on the side of human rights, truth and justice, on the side of compassion and respect for human dignity. I hope that you will choose to uphold those common values by having mercy on the 11 Uyghur Muslims in your custody.
The Uyghurs take pride in the success of Malaysia as a democratic Muslim country.With this pride in their heart, they don’t expect to see that Malaysia submits its capacity act independently to China’s coercion, from which these 11 Uyghurs are trying to escape. I believe that a majority of the Malaysians will not accept this outcome.
Malaysia may use its extradition agreement with China and sections of its own law concerning unlawful entry into the state to escape its responsibilities under international law. However, I will implore you not to bow down to tyrants. Please do not become an accomplice to oppression. Please take a stance on the issue and urge your government not to send your Uyghur Muslim brothers to suffer detention, torture and perhaps even execution in China.