For Immediate Release
AIUSA media office, 202-544-0200 x302
Amnesty International Calls for the Immediate Release of Secretary General of World Uigher Congress
WASHINGTON - Amnesty International calls
on the South Korean authorities to immediately release Dolkun Isa, Secretary
General of the World Uighur Congress, unless he is to be charged with an
internationally recognized criminal offense.
Under no circumstances should he be deported
to China, where he would risk arbitrary detention, unfair trial, torture
and other ill-treatment and possibly even the death penalty.
Dolkun Isa told Amnesty International by
phone that he has been held at Incheon International airport in Seoul for
over 42 hours. He was told he would be returned to Germany but has been
stopped from boarding a flight.
Dolkun Isa was in Seoul to attend the ‘World
Forum for Democratization in Asia.' He fled China in 1997, obtaining asylum
in Germany. He became a German citizen in 2006.
"Dolkun Isa is a human rights defender,"
said Roseann Rife, Amnesty International's Asia Pacific Deputy Director.
"If there is clear evidence that Dolkun Isa has broken any laws, the authorities
should charge him. Otherwise, he must be released."
The Chinese authorities have accused the
World Uighur Congress and its President, Rebiya Kadeer, in particular,
of having masterminded recent riots in Urumqi. The authorities have not
substantiated these claims with any credible evidence.
The Chinese authorities often label independent
expression of Uighur ethnic identity as "separatism" or "religious extremism."
The authorities have mounted an aggressive campaign against the so-called
"three forces" - separatism, terrorism and religious extremism - in
the region. Subsequently, many Uighurs are arbitrarily detained and imprisoned
as political prisoners or prisoners of conscience.
The June 26, 2009 deaths of two Uighur workers
in a violent riot at a factory in southern China (Shaoguan, Guangdong province)
sparked unrest in the region. It began the following month with peaceful
demonstrations by Uighers to protest the authorities' initial lack of
response to the deaths.
Discriminatory government policies have sparked
clashes in the XUAR before. In the past, the Chinese authorities have responded
by labelling the clashes "counter-revolutionary" or "separatist," and
responding in a heavy-handed manner.
The World Uighur Congress is a legally constituted,
non-governmental organizations based in Germany, which advocates for human
rights and self-determination for Uighurs and adheres to peaceful and non-violent
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters,
activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human
rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates
and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.
We are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world.