The death of an Uyghur detainee, Aziz Abdullah at Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Centre, is the epitome of the government’s mishandling of those escaping China’s southwestern Xinjiang region as well as the Muslim minority group’s long-forgotten plight on Thai soil, Bangkok Post reported.
According to Bangkok Post, the 49-year-old man died earlier this week of a lung infection. Despite claims by immigration authorities that they had taken good care of his health, rights activists said Abdullah had been seriously ill for more than three weeks but was not allowed to go to the hospital until he finally collapsed.
Upon being taken to the hospital, Abdullah was pronounced dead. His death led to an outcry from rights advocates who are now urging the government to find humane solutions to end the group’s suffering.
Abdullah, a farmer in a remote part of Xinjiang, arrived in Thailand with his pregnant wife, his brother and seven children in 2013. He was among nearly 200 Uighurs escaping Beijing’s oppressive rules.
When Thai authorities arrested Abdullah and his family in southern Thailand, their dream of reaching Turkey via Malaysia was shattered. Abdullah ended up in a detention cell, while nothing about his wife and children was mentioned.
According to Bangkok Post, the Uyghur issue has tainted Thailand’s human rights record for far too long. Back in 2015, as preparations were underway to send Uyghur asylum seekers to a third country, the junta government succumbed to Beijing’s pressure, swiftly deporting more than 100 of them to China. The fate of the deportees is unknown.
It is an open secret that the junta made this controversial decision to appease China in a show of gratitude for Beijing’s support at a time when it was ostracised by the western world over the coup by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and the National Council for Peace and Order in 2014, according to Bangkok Post.
A report released by Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project recently accused UNESCO of violating its own standards by failing to acknowledge Beijing’s actions towards Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities in China, US-based Voice of America (VOA) reported.
These actions by Beijing include “destroying built heritage and desacralizing religious traditions, criminalizing grassroots cultural practices while using their staged representations to promote China’s chosen political narratives.”
UNESCO, which stands for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, “continues to acknowledge China as a protector of Uyghur, Kazakh and Kyrgyz heritage in the Uyghur region,” says the report co-authored by Rachel Harris and Aziz Isa Elkun, according to VOA. (ANI)