Kazakistan barred Uyghur rights campaigners from entering the country for their activism
Tursunjan, Uyghur Times
Sep 5, 2021
After Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan became the second country to refuse entry to a notable campaigner who has chronicled the plight of Uyghur and Kazakhs persecuted by China in the Uyghur region.
Bunin, 36, wrote: “Congratulations, Kazakhstan, on your path down to authoritarian hell.”
Gene Bunin, 36, a dual US and Russian national, is best known as the founder of the shahit.biz Xinjiang Victims Database, which collected the data of nearly 25,000 victims incarcerated, detained, or unaccounted for in the Uyghur region.
Thousands of Kazakhs have family ties to the Uyghur region, where Kazakhs are the second-largest Turkic group after the Uyghurs.
According to Agence France-Presse, Bunin showed the agency a copy of a document confirming that he had been barred from entering the country. He said he had received the document upon arrival to Kazakhstan’s largest city, Almaty, on Sunday, after a flight from Kyrgyzstan. Officials did not provide a reason for deporting him from a country where he lived for around two years before leaving in 2020, Bunin said.
Guardian wrote that Bunin said he was “99.9% sure” the deportation was connected to his work on China’s genocidal policies against the Uyghurs and others .he said that Kazakh authorities had been “consistently ‘cleaning up’ Xinjiang activism” by detaining and hassling local campaigners.
Kazakhstan is one of the original five member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, a regional security organization initiated by China in June 2001
to protect the member states from extremism and terrorism and its economy and technology have been heavily dependent on China. Uyghur activists have been accusing Kazakistan of selling out its Turkic brothers to China for economic benefit.