The Uighurs Find a Home — Finally

Palau has agreed to take in the Uighurs — and has demonstrated just about every other nation’s hypocrisy and cowardice.

So it looks like Palau has agreed to temporarily resettle the Uighurs, who have been detained at Guantanamo for no apparent reason for several years. As background, the Uighurs are Chinese Muslims. 17 of then were detained by the United States in Afghanistan, locked up in Guantanamo even though there wasn’t a shred of evidence that they were dangerous, were officially exonerated — and then still had to remain in Guantanamo because no one wanted to take them.

This has been a really nauseating episode. Remember: these people were completely innocent, except that the Chinese government continued to insist that they were somehow dangerous. Lots and lots of hypocrisy here.

The Obama Administration? It refused to admit them to the United States. So much for give me your tired, your poor.

What about the Muslim world, and all those leaders and fighters who claim that they are warriors for the umma? Didn’t hear a peep out of them. Apparently, supporting Islam means shooting up half of Bombay, but you can’t be bothered with, you know, actually caring for innocent Muslims.

I always thought that Israel should take them. Wouldn’t that have been a great PR coup? But apparently Israel is too busy talking about how it shares enlightened western values and being a light unto the nations to actually do the right thing.

So they are off to Palau.

“What they will encounter in Palau is paradise,” said Stuart Beck, an American lawyer who is Palau’s permanent United Nations representative. “From the time the first British vessel hit a reef in Palau in 1783, it has welcomed refugees.”

And now maybe it’s the only place left that does.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.