Not Everyone Is Happy About the Relocation of the Uighurs
It’s not just residents of Alexandria, Va., who are uncomfortable with the prospect of hosting Guantanamo Bay detainees in their backyards. Some residents of the Pacific nation of Palau, where 13 Chinese Uighurs detained at Gitmo are set to be relocated, are expressing indignation over what they consider their government’s failure to consider the opinions of its citizens, The Associated Press reports.
“It’s good to be humanitarian and all, but still these people … to me are scary,” remarks one Palauan.
The government of Bermuda, where four of the 17 Uighur detainees are now residing, is receiving a mixed response for its decision to take in the detainees. Bermuda, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, has been criticized by the United Kingdom for unilaterally deciding to accept the detainees without regard for Britain’s concerns on the matter. In a statement issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Bermudan government was chided for potentially overstepping its bounds:
We have underlined to the Bermuda Government that it should have consulted the UK on whether this falls within their competence or is a foreign affairs or security issue for which the Bermuda Government do not have delegated responsibility.
The Bermuda Sun reports that although that country’s Muslim community welcomes the detainees and the Human Rights Commission applauds the decision to host them, one member of Parliament is expressing outrage that he claims is shared by the overwhelming sentiment of the Bermudan people.
But China, the original home of the Uighur detainees, only has a bone to pick with the United States. According to The New York Times, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang claims that America is ignoring international law by refusing to return the detainees to their home country. The U.S. government declined to return the Uighurs to China out of fear they would face persecution and torture.
Despite the controversy, one relocated Uighur has thanked the Bermudan government for “let[ting] freedom ring.”