Uighur Detainees Put Palau on the Map

A tiny South Pacific island agrees to take some Guantanamo detainees

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

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The tiny South Pacific island state of Palau has agreed to temporarily resettle 17 Chinese Muslims being held in Guantanamo Bay prison. The men are ethnic Uighurs from China's north-western Xinjiang province; they were cleared for release four years ago by U.S. authorities but have had nowhere to go. They can't be returned to China for fear they'd be mistreated and their resettlement in the U.S. faced fierce political opposition. Palau's current President, Johnson Toribong, said his country was “honored and proud” to take the detainees. We speak to Palau’s former president Tommy Remengesau, who stepped down in January, about the island's decision.

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"It’s the long-term ramifications. What is the view of the very people we’re trying to invite to Palau as tourists? What will they think of Palau if they know that we are hosting Guantanamo Bay detainees?"
— Former Palau president Tommy Remengesau on the hosting of Guantanamo Bay detainees

Guests:

Tommy Remengesau

Hosted by:

Farai Chideya

Contributors:

Kate McGough and Sitara Nieves

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