Palau Takes Uighur Detainees
The tropical Pacific island nation of Palau announced Wednesday it will accept up to 17 Chinese Muslims who have languished in legal limbo at Guantanamo Bay despite a Pentagon determination that they are not “enemy combatants.”
China’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate reaction to the decision by Palau to grant Washington’s request to resettle the detainees from China’s Uighur minority who had been incarcerated at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. Palau is one of a handful of countries that does not recognize China and maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
President Johnson Toribiong said Palau was accepting the detainees “as a humanitarian gesture” intended to help them restart their lives. His archipelago, with a population of about 20,000, will accept up to 17 of the detainees subject to periodic review, Toribiong said in a statement released to The Associated Press. “This is but a small thing we can do to thank our best friend and ally for all it has done for Palau,” he said.
A former U.S. trust territory in the Pacific, Palau has retained close ties with the United States since independence in 1994 when it signed a Free Compact of Association with the U.S. While it is independent, it relies heavily on U.S. aid and is dependent on the United States for its defense. Native-born Palauans are allowed to enter the United States without passports or visas.
I suppose there are worse fates than being exiled to a tropical paradise.