By Concerned Uyghur Intellectuals
Zinnetgul Tursun (spelled Zinaitiguli Tuersun in Chinese), a Uighur mother of two young children was sent back from Turkey to China through Tajikistan on June 27, 2019. Zinnetgul’s older sister Guljennet (lives in Saudi Arabia) managed to contact their mother in Ghulja, China, and was told that Zinnetgul’s two children were sick and taken to the hospital whereas Zinnetgul had been taken away by local Chinese authorities. Zinnetgul’s current situation is unknown.
Uighurs in the diaspora are alerted to this incident and are shocked and deeply saddened:
- We urgently request the Turkish government to investigate the circumstances around the deportation of Zinnetgul and her two children, to rescue them from China and to provide a guarantee for their safety. We also request the Turkish government to request the Chinese government to provide information about Zinnetgul’s current situation.
We are extremely concerned about the safety of Zinnetgul and her two children.
We are also extremely anxious that this vulnerable situation may also occur to thousands of other Uyghurs in Turkey. According to Uighurs living in Turkey, they are continuously feeling the threat of being deported as many Uighurs have recently been given “Deportation Orders”. Further, a significant number of Uighurs are either in custody without trial or facing rearrests. Some Uighurs have been arrested without explanation and then released with restrictions including cancellation of their Turkish residency. There are also many Uighurs who do not have any legal status in Turkey, or their residency applications have been rejected without a specific explanation. These Uighurs are constantly worried that at any time, they will be the next Zinnetgul, arrested and then deported.
Hence, we would like to
- request the Turkish government, United Nations, European Union, and other government and non-government organizations to take urgent action to protect the Uighurs’ living in Turkey.
- request that the process of the Uighurs seeking to be resettled in a third safe country be expedited to counter China’s discriminatory passport policy that many Uighurs either holding no passport or expired passports.
- urgently request Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to direct attention to incidents where Uighurs are facing enforced disappearance and arbitrary detention, and deportation through and from countries, particularly countries in Central Asia, South East Asia, and the Middle East.
- recall that the German government suspended deportations of Uighurs to China until further notice after a failed effort to get information about a Uighur man who was accidentally deported to China in April 2018. Human Rights Watch also urged the European Union not to forcibly return Uighurs to China.
Zinnetgul is a mother, she matters to us; her two young children are precious to us. Please rescue and protect those who are vulnerable! We have already lost so many Uighurs, how many more must we weep for? Every life is precious!
We are thankful to Turkey which has long been a second home for many Uighurs. We respect the Turkish government’s current refugee and migrant management. However, due to the torture and incarceration, even death of the deported Uighurs,
- We strongly request the Turkish government not to deport any Uighur to China directly or indirectly through a third country.
- We urgently request the Turkish government to investigate and provide an official explanation about the circumstances around the deportation of Zinnetgul and her two children, and to ensure such cases will be prevented from happening again.