Statement by John Kirby
We condemn Thailand’s forced deportation on July 9 of over 100 ethnic Uighurs to China, where they could face harsh treatment and a lack of due process. This action runs counter to Thailand’s international obligations as well as its long-standing practice of providing safe haven to vulnerable persons. We remain deeply concerned about the protection of all asylum seekers and vulnerable migrants in Thailand, and we strongly urge the Government of Thailand, and other governments in countries where Uighurs have taken refuge, not to carry out further forced deportations of ethnic Uighurs.
We further urge Chinese authorities to uphold international norms and to ensure transparency, due process, and proper treatment of these individuals. We will continue to stress to all parties concerned the importance of respecting human rights and honoring their obligations under international law.
We have consistently urged Thai authorities at all levels to adhere to Thailand’s international obligations under the Convention Against Torture, which mandates that countries refrain from refoulement. International humanitarian organizations should also have unfettered access to them to ensure that their humanitarian and protection needs are met. We urge Thailand to allow those remaining ethnic Uighurs to depart voluntarily to a country of their choice.