• Tuesday, Apr 13, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:58 pm

Saudi Arabia to deport another 250 Rohingyas to Bangladesh

  • Published at 05:34 pm January 21st, 2019
WEB_Rohingyas in Saudi detention centre_al Jazeera_21.01.2019.jpg
File photo of Scores of Rohingya Muslims sit on the floor of the Shumaisi detention centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as the authorities prepare to deport the men to Bangladesh Nay San Lwin/Al Jazeera

This is the second time Myanmar’s persecuted minority is being deported from the country

Saudi Arabia has been preparing to deport another 250 Rohingya men for the second time in Bangladesh, reports Al Jazeera.

According to the campaign coordinator for the Free Rohingya Coalition, Nay San Lwin, Saudi Arabia has been accommodating almost 300,000 Rohingyas.

He has requested the authorities to stop the deportation because the Rohingya men will be incarcerated following their entry to Bangladesh. 

Nay San Lwin told al Jazeera: "[The] majority of these Rohingyas have residency permits and can live in Saudi Arabia legally.

"But these detainees, who are being kept in the Shumaisi detention centre [in Jeddah], have not been treated like their fellow Rohingya. Instead, they are being treated like criminals."

A video by Nay San Lwin showed the Rohingyas in the camp, most of who have been living in the country for several years, were being prepared to be taken to Jeddah’s international airport, from where they would be flown to Dhaka directly, reported Al Jazeera.

He said the men were expected to board their flights either late on Sunday or Monday evening.

Nay San Lwin furthered that many of the Rohingyas entered Saudi Arabia after acquiring passports from countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, and Nepal through smugglers using false documents.

Who are the Rohingyas?

Myanmar stripped the Rohingyas of their citizenship in 1982, rendering them stateless.

Under the 1982 Citizenship Law, Myanmar did not acknowledge the Rohingyas as one of the country's 135 ethnic groups, thus restricting their rights to: study, work, travel, marry, vote, practise their religion, and access health services.

Further, Saudi Arabia stopped issuing residence permits to Rohingyas who arrived in the country after 2011.

Nay San Lwin said he had personally contacted Saudi officials and diplomats to intervene about the deportation and that several human rights activists had appealed to Saudi authorities over the past two years.

"When these Rohingya arrive in Bangladesh, they could be jailed," he told Al Jazeera. "Saudi Arabia should stop these deportations and grant them residency permits like the other Rohingyas who arrived in the country before them."

In 2018, the Middle East Eye (MEE) reported that Rohingya detainees were being prepared to be deported shortly after Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

Some of the detainees held at the Shumaisi detention centre said they had lived in the kingdom their entire lives and had been sent to the facility after Saudi police found them without identification papers.

Labelled the "world's most persecuted minority," nearly one million Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh in August 2017 due to a military onslaught against them in Myanmar.

The United Nations accused government soldiers and local Buddhists of massacring families, burning hundreds of villages, and carrying out mass gang rapes; however, Myanmar denies this, stating that security forces are battling armed rebels.

Meanwhile, many of the refugees housed in cramped and unsanitary camps in Bangladesh say they fear returning to Myanmar without guaranteed rights such as citizenship, access to healthcare, and freedom of movement.

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