US decries Cambodia's deportation of Uighurs

AP News
Posted: Dec 20, 2009 11:09 AM

The U.S. is condemning Cambodia's decision to forcibly deport 20 Muslim asylum-seekers back to China.

The State Department says U.S. ties with Cambodia will suffer as a result.

The department said in a statement Sunday that it was "deeply disturbed" by the move, which may have violated Cambodia's international obligations to asylum-seekers. The U.S. also says its concerned about the welfare of the Uighurs (WEE-gurz). There are fears the Uighurs may be mistreated in China.

Spokesman Gordon Duguid says the incident would affect Cambodia's relationship with the United States and its international standing.

The Uighurs fled China after ethnic rioting in July. China says they are criminals but their role in the rioting remains unclear.