2 Nov 2009

Palau leader says Uighurs assured they are welcome

8:15 pm on 2 November 2009

The paramount traditional chief of Palau's capital, Koror, says local people will have no trouble welcoming six Chinese Uighurs released from US military detention in Guantanamo Bay into local society.

The men were transferred to Palau at the weekend after the local government agreed in June to take up to a dozen Uighurs who were captured during the US-led war in Afghanistan but not later classified as "enemy combatants".

A lawyer representing three of the six Uighurs transferred to Palau says they pose no safety threat.

Eric Tirschwell says there is no reason why the men cannot return to leading peaceful and productive lives despite the reluctance of most countries to take them on.

Chief Yutaka Gibbons says the men will be accepted by Palauans.

"The leadership of Palau made the way before and discussed about it and we all agreed that we'd welcome them. Palau is always open to welcome anybody who wants to come and live in Palau."

Yutaka Gibbons