GITMO Uighurs Palau-bound
The Uighurs of Guantanamo finally catch a break:
They were plucked from their ancient Silk Road home in central Asia eight years ago and sent to Guantanamo Bay as part of the "war on terror". Now cleared of being enemy combatants, the 17 Chinese Uighurs, who once lived about as far away from the ocean as it is possible to live, find themselves bound for a new life on the remote Pacific island of Palau.
The 1.6 million sq km of their home province, Xinjiang, is a major earthquake zone, which includes three deserts as well as the famed ancient trade route; the 350-island archipelago of Palau was only founded in 1994, has just 20,000 inhabitants and is a renowned scuba diving destination.
The relocation will be the biggest single release of Guantanamo detainees to date, and a major relief to US President Barack Obama, who has been searching for a way to resolve the prisoners' situation since he declared his intention to close the American military camp. [Independent]
Pelau's president President Johnson Toribiong has earned the gratitude of the United States and a $200 million dollar "donation" from Washington through the soon-to-be renewed U.S.-Palau cooperation treaty.
Kudos to the diplomats who brokered this deal and to the sane, compassionate people of Palau.
If you like human rights and like tropical paradises with great scuba diving, you might consider rewarding Palau for its service to the international community by booking your next vacation there.