Geneva - The allegations that Chinese citizens were detained in a civilian facility in the Emirate of Dubai are of great concern, Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said today in a statement calling for an urgent investigation into the matter and the UAE authorities to clarify all details related to the aforementioned incident.
A report published by the Associated Press included the allegation that a 26-year-old Chinese woman named Wu Huan – who is not a Uyghur – was interrogated by Chinese officials inside the hotel where she was staying on May 27, before Dubai Police transferred her to a police station.
Huan stayed at the police station for three days and was then transferred handcuffed by a black Toyota to a three-story villa with separate rooms converted into cells with iron doors, where she saw and heard two Uyghur detainees in adjacent cells.
The young Chinese woman said that during her interrogation she was threatened and forced to sign legal documents accusing her fiancé – who is wanted by the Chinese authorities – of harassing her, before she was released on June 8.
The incident once again brought to the surface the involvement of UAE authorities in hosting secret prisons on its territory and the extradition of wanted persons.
In February 2018, the UAE handed over Uyghur Chinese citizen, Ahmed Talib, to China, despite the possibility that he would be subjected to serious violations due to Beijing's illegal practices against Uyghur Muslims.
Wu Huan’s testimony appears to intersect with the incidents of Arab countries' extradition of wanted persons to the Chinese authorities in recent years.
The "Uyghur Human Rights Project" has been able to track 1,327 Uyghurs deported from 20 countries from 2014 until now.
Reports also documented Saudi Arabia’s forced deportation of 5 Uyghur Muslims to China between 2017 and 2018, while other reports documented the disappearance of dozens of Uyghur students who were studying in Egypt after being detained by the Egyptian authorities in July 2017, and it is believed that the authorities forcibly deported them to China.
At the end of last July, Moroccan authorities arrested a Uyghur activist, Idris Hassan, upon arriving in Morocco from Turkey, based on a Chinese arrest warrant circulated by Interpol.
In July 2019, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, along with 34 other countries, sent a letter to the United Nations supporting Beijing's policy towards minorities in the northern region of Xinjiang.
The UAE, Saudi and Egyptian authorities forcibly deporting Uyghur Muslims to China explicitly violates the obligations of the three signatory countries to the Convention against Torture, which stipulates in the first clause of Article (3) that “No State Party shall expel, return (refouler) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture.”
The UAE has a bad record in detaining its citizens or members of other nationalities in secret prisons, where dozens of cases were recorded, the most prominent of which was the detention of Princess Latifa, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai.
The princess was held in a villa in 2018, denying her access to the outside world before she was eventually allowed to leave the country in June 2021.
The UAE authorities' continuation of hosting or participating in the management of secret prisons for other countries on its soil is repenhisble. The authorities should put legal and moral obligations before political considerations, and put an end to all manifestations of illegal detention inside civilian facilities in the country.
It is outrageous that UAE authorities are setting up secret prisons for people fleeing persecution and subjecting them to harassment and forcible deportations, instead of providing them with protection.
The UAE authorities should stop the illegal practices of detention and forcible deportation and respect their relevant local and international legal obligations.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights should condemn Emirati authorities’ violations of individuals' basic rights, communicate with the authorities to ensure that they respect the rights of citizens and residents of the country and implement human rights principles in the detention and investigation of individuals and the extradition of wanted persons to their countries of origin.