Embarrassing U-Turn? Dolkun Isa’s Visa Revoked, Govt Criticised

The Interpol has issued a red corner notice against the leader.

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World Uyghur Congress (WUC) leader Dolkun Isa (left). (Photo Courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/VictoriaCoates">@<b>VictoriaCoates</b></a>)

Indian authorities have withdrawn the visa issued to dissident Uyghur leader Dolkun Isa, citing a red corner notice against him by the Interpol. India was reportedly under pressure from China.

Sources, however, said that the decision to withdraw the visa was based purely on the Interpol notice and had nothing to with pressure from China.

I express my disappointment on Indian authorities’ cancellation of my visa to attend the Conference in Dharamsala. I recognise and understand the difficult position that the Indian government found itself (in), and regret that my trip has generated such unwarranted controversy.
Dolkun Isa’s statement

Isa, a leader of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) who lives in Germany, was invited to a conference organised by the US-based ‘Initiatives for China’. He and many other Chinese dissidents in exile were to attend this conference in Dharamshala.

Isa claimed he had received an e-mail on Sunday stating that the visa issued to him had been cancelled.

Also Read: India Issues Visa to Uyghur ‘Terrorist’ Dolkun Isa; China Upset

Dolkun Isa’s Statement:

As the Executive Committee Chairman of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), I express my disappointment on Indian authorities’ cancellation of my visa to attend the annual Interethnic Interfaith Leadership Conference taking place in Dharamsala, India, from 30 April to 1 May 2016. This conference remains a vital forum through which ethnic and religious communities in China related areas, as well as statesmen, scholars and activists are able to meet openly to discuss and exchange ideas, promote peaceful dialogue, and reinforce bonds between disparate communities.

The Indian (government) had granted me a tourist e-visa, but it was cancelled after my visit was widely reported in the Indian press. Following numerous reports, Indian authorities then proceeded to rescind the visa on 23 April 2016. I recognise and understand the difficult position that the Indian government found itself (in), and regret that my trip has generated such unwarranted controversy.

This is not the first time that I have faced difficulties in my international travels to advocate Uyghur rights. In September 2009, I was detained briefly and denied entry to South Korea while travelling to attend the World Forum for Democratization in Asia, to which I was an invited guest. China also has regularly attempted to block or interfere with my human rights work at the UN in Geneva, in particular.

I also reject any comparison or association to China’s recent veto by the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee of Pakistani militant leader, Masood Azhar. Such an unjustifiable comparison seeks only to delegitimize my decades of impassioned work as a strictly non-violent campaigner for Uyghur rights.

Historically speaking, the Uyghur community has maintained friendly ties with the Indian people. The Indian government hosted our late leader, Isa Yusuf Alptekin and Uyghur refugees after they fled China in 1949.

Finally, I would like to thank the Indian people for their determined solidarity and commitment to rights activists like myself who wish to continue to develop and support dialogue among people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. I remain disappointed with the final decision, but I am hopeful that positive steps may be taken to maintain India’s relationship with the Uyghur community.

I therefore, wish the conference success and hope that meaningful dialogue will take place between those who have the privilege of participating (in) the upcoming conference.

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