Skip to main content

Cambodia deports Uyghur refugees back to China

(CNN) -- The U.N. refugee agency said it deplores a move by Cambodia to deport 20 Uyghur refugees back to China.

Kitty McKinsey, a coordinator with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees agency in Asia, told CNN on Saturday that the refugees had been seeking asylum.

China's northwestern region was wracked by ethnic violence between Han Chinese and Uyghur Muslims earlier this year, and the Uyghurs fled to Cambodia to escape the unrest.

McKinsey said the UNHCR considers the deportation a breach of international law, and Uyghur human rights activists have expressed concern about the move.

Cambodian and Chinese officials could not immediately be reached for a response. But a Cambodian state media outlet, Agence Kampuchea Presse, reported that Chinese Vice President H.E. Xi Jinping is to arrive in Cambodia on Sunday for a three-day visit.