US urged to resettle Uighur inmates

Seventeen men cleared for release four years ago still held at Guantanamo.

    Guantanamo once held 22 Uighurs but five have been resettled in Albania [GALLO/GETTY]

    Albania accepted five Uighur detainees in 2006 but has said it will not take others, possibly due to fears of diplomatic repercussions from China.

    US 'obligation'

    "We cannot expect the world to miraculously resolve this problem of our own making," Jim McGovern, a Democratic congressman, said at a world assembly of Uighurs in Washington DC.

    "It is not enough, quite frankly, to ask that they be placed in Germany or in some other European country.

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    "I believe that we have an obligation to resettle at least some of the Uighurs here in the US."

    Bill Delahunt, another Democratic congressman, also spoke in favour of the Uighurs' move to the US at the conference.

    The calls came as Barack Obama defended his decision to close the prison on Thursday, saying it probably "created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained".

    The US president called on legislators to back his commitment to close the jail a day after the US senate voted not to provide funds to transfer inmates out, in effect stopping him from fulfilling his pledge.

    The Uighurs were captured mainly in Pakistan and Afghanistan during the US-led war in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001, attacks.

    Uighurs are mostly Turkic-speaking and Muslim, and many say they have long been repressed by the Chinese government.

    China says Uighur nationalists are leading a separatist movement in the country's Xinjiang province.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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