Uighurs in Palau

There are various reports that the tiny Pacific nation of Palau will take in 17 Chinese Muslims from the U.S. prison in Guantanamo.  The ethnic Uighur prisoners had been previously cleared of wrongdoing and ordered to be released, but could not be resettled in their native region in western China due to fear of reprisals from the Chinese government.

palau

“The agreement opens the door to the largest single transfer of Guantánamo prisoners and is the first major deal on detainees since President Obama pledged soon after taking office in January to close the prison within a year….But the United States had not been able to persuade any country to take them, despite contacting about 100 governments. Washington had said it would not hand them over to China, which has demanded their return, because it feared they would be persecuted or even executed.”

The U.S. goverment has promised $200 million in aid to Palau, but denies that the aid is linked to Palau’s acceptance of the Uighur prisoners.  Whether this is true or not, it is a relief that these persecuted men finally have a place to go.