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Malaysia/China: Malaysia won’t extradite Uighurs to China

Malaysia will not extradite ethnic Uighur refugees to China and will allow them safe passage to a third country should they feel their safety is at risk, a minister said.

Southeast Asia has been a preferred transit point to Turkey for ethnic Uighur Muslims fleeing what refugees and activists have described as oppression and mass internment by the Chinese government. (Pictured: Refugees from China’s Xinjiang region wait inside a temporary shelter near the Thailand-Malaysia border.)

Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, said Malaysia respects the right of sovereign countries to manage their internal affairs, even if it recognizes that Uighurs face oppression in China.

Mohd Redzuan’s comments, made in a written parliamentary reply posted on the legislature’s website in September 2020, marked the first time Malaysia has taken a clear position against extraditing Uighur refugees.

“Hence, if there are any Uighur refugees who flee to Malaysia for protection, Malaysia has decided to not extradite Uighur refugees even if there is a request from the People’s Republic of China,” Mohd Redzuan said.

“They are allowed to move on to a third country should they fear for their safety or potentially face persecution, where they feel they would not receive protection and justice in their home country.”

In October 2018, Malaysian authorities released 11 Uighurs and sent them to Turkey, despite a request from China to return them.  Reuters

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