7 Mar 2013

Uighurs on Palau keen to move to bigger country

5:18 am on 7 March 2013

A Palauan educator and friend of five Chinese Uighurs on the island says they have settled into family life since arriving from Guantanamo Bay but want to move to a bigger country.

The government of Palau has asked the US to work harder to help find a housing solution for them.

Palau accepted the Uighurs after the US released them from detention in 2009.

Patrick Tellei says he first met them all in Guantanamo.

"I would say they have come a long way, eager to be relocated, but nevertheless they are fluent in English right now, they all drive, they all have vehicles, they all have apartments, they all have wives, they all have kids. I guess the only thing missing is the relocation outside of this small community where they see the ocean on both sides. I get to hear that they like this place, just it's too small for them."

Patrick Tellei says the men and their families have celebrated Muslim traditions and holidays with the local Bangladeshi community.

He says one of the six Chinese Uighurs has recently left Palau, for Turkey.