Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Let America clean up its own mess

Since late 2001, the US government has been holding 17 Uighurs in its gulag at Guantanamo Bay. Sold to the US by Pakistani bounty hunters, the Uighurs were originally suspected of being terrorists. However, in 2003 they were cleared of all charges by a US military tribunal and ordered to be released. Despite this, they have continued to be detained in isolation for 22 hours a day, on the grounds that the US can not return them to China as they would face a substantial risk of persecution. Instead, the US government has tried to dump their problem on other countries such as Canada and Albania. And now we learn that they even tried to dump them on New Zealand.

The request was refused, and rightly so. These people are currently in the custody of the United States, which has wrongfuly imprisoned them for almost six years. The US has already admitted that they have a well-founded fear of persecution and qualify as refugees under the Refugee Convention. It should therefore grant them refugee status and let them live in the United States.