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Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1092


Mr ZAPPIA (Makin) (10:24): I've previously spoken about the detention and oppression of the Uygur people in the Xinjiang region of China. On 17 September last year I moved a motion in this place, which was debated, and also presented a petition, signed by 11,144 people, on this issue. I've also met with several Uygur families in Adelaide and heard firsthand accounts of detention, disappearance and surveillance and the restrictions placed on their family members living in Xinjiang. The situation in Xinjiang has also been the subject of ongoing media reports, including, most recently, the ABC Four Corners program last week. I understand that 22 countries have signed a joint statement condemning China's mass detention of Uygur and other minorities in the Xinjiang region.

Yesterday, I and several parliamentary colleagues met with Almas Nizamidin and Sadam Abudusalamu, two Australian Uygurs who appeared on the Four Corners program and who are pleading to have their respective wives and Sadam's two-year-old son brought to Australia. Their cases are being supported by Amnesty International. Last year, I wrote to Australia's Minister for Foreign Affairs about Almas's case. Almas has lost all contact with his wife and mother and has no knowledge of their whereabouts or wellbeing. The emotional strain on both Almas and Sadam of not being able to be with their wives was clearly visible at the meeting yesterday, and it's understandable—particularly as there is no clear reason why their wives and Sadam's two-year-old son are being detained or prevented from coming to Australia, or, indeed, from leaving Xinjiang.

The families are pleading to be reunited so that they can get on with their lives, and I've no reason to believe that they pose any security threat to Australia or to China. I urge both the Chinese embassy here in Australia and the Australian government to do all they can to allow these two young families to be reunited and to do so expeditiously. They have been separated for much too long. Indeed, when Sadam's son was born in Xinjiang, Sadam was not even able to be at his son's birth. In fact, he has never even met his own son. I can only imagine the torment and stress that places on him and his wife and his little son. These are innocent people caught up in a political situation, and their interest is solely in being given the opportunity to live a normal, peaceful life with their loved ones.