US urges Thailand to protect detained Uighurs

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Associated Press

Posted on March 14, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Updated Friday, Mar 14 at 5:36 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is urging Thailand to protect about 200 ethnic Uighurs (wee-GERS) it says have been rescued by Thai police from a camp in the nation's south.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says the U.S. is concerned about the plight of the predominantly Muslim minority, but did not directly address the possibility of this group's repatriation to China.

Human Rights Watch is calling on Thailand to ensure the Uighurs are not forcibly sent back. It says they would face credible threats of torture in China.

The rights group says Thai immigration officials raided a jungle camp holding 220 Uighurs in Songkhla (SONG-klah) province Thursday night. They include 82 children.

Human Rights Watch says a senior diplomat from China has flown to Songkhla to demand access to the Uighurs.

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