Just hours remain before Saudi Arabia 'deports four Uyghurs, including child' to China: Amnesty
Four Uyghurs, including a child, may be scheduled for deportation from Saudi Arabia to China on Thursday evening, according to Amnesty International.
The rights group said it had "received credible information" a 13-year-old girl and her mother, Buheliqiemu Abula, were tested for coronavirus on Thursday in preparation for their forced departure to China.
They will be taken from the deportation centre at 9pm Saudi time and are headed for Guangzhou in China, police reportedly informed them.
Amnesty International deputy Middle East director Lynn Maalouf said: "Saudi authorities must immediately halt all plans to deport the four Uyghurs – including a 13-year-old girl and her mother – who are at grave risk of being taken to repressive internment camps if sent back to China.
"Forcibly returning these four Uyghur people would be an unconscionable violation of Saudi Arabia’s obligations under international law.
"The Saudi authorities must not even think about sending them to China, where they will be subjected to arbitrary detention, persecution and possibly to torture."
Maalouf called on the international community to respond and prevent the deportation.
Amnesty said international law and Saudi Arabia's membership of the UN Convention Against Torture mean Riyadh is not permitted to deport people if they "face a real risk of torture… or other serious human rights violations".
Beijing has long persecuted the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minority groups from China's Xinjiang province.
Chinese authorities have imprisoned around one million people there, claiming this is part of a counter-extremism effort.
The United States has accused Beijing of perpetrating a "genocide" against the Uyghurs, as have numerous human rights groups and the parliaments of Canada and the United Kingdom.