Don’t deport Rohingyas from Saudi Arabia until genocide ends: Free Rohingya Coalition

The Daily Star February 13, 2020

Photo: Collected Star Online Report

Free Rohingya Coalition, a global platform of Rohingyas worldwide, has urged Saudi Arabia not to deport any Rohingyas until the genocide against them in Myanmar is over.

“Once the case is settled and peace prevails in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, they will go back to their country of origin. At this moment, we urge Saudi authorities not to deport any Rohingyas — either from the detention camps or outside in the Kingdom — to Bangladesh,” said Free Rohingya Coalition Co-founder Nay San Lwin.

The urge comes as a Saudi delegation is in talks with Bangladesh authorities over the deportation of the Rohingyas from Saudi Arabia.

“This is a sensitive issue. We don’t want deportation for the sake of deportation. There are issues of security. We are talking about it,” said Mahir Abdul Rahman Gassim, the Saudi deputy minister for international affairs of the ministry of labor and social development.

He said this at a joint press briefing at the Economic Relations Division (ERD) yesterday after a two-day meeting of the Joint Commission of Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia.

The meeting discussed a range of issues including Saudi investments in Bangladesh and the welfare and protection of Bangladeshi migrants in Saudi Arabia.

ERD Secretary Monowar Ahmed said the Rohingya issue was raised at the discussion.

“We took note of it. A few ministries are involved with the issue. We will discuss and then decide on the matter,” he told journalists, but did not mention the number of Rohingyas the Kingdom wants to deport.

According to media reports, Saudi Arabia wants to deport some 42,000 Rohingyas possessing Bangladeshi passports.

Nay San Lwin said there are some three lakh Rohingyas living in Saudi Arabia. Around 1600 of them were in detention camps in Jeddah. Of them, a few dozen were deported to Bangladesh last year.

“The Roingyas living in Saudi Arabia are a source of livelihood for their families back either in Bangladesh or Myanmar. Deporting them means the fate of their families in Bangladesh or Rakhine will only worsen,” he told The Daily Star by phone from Germany.

There are over a million Rohingygas in Bangladesh, including about 7.5 lakh who fled a brutal military crackdown against them since August 2017. Thousands were killed, women raped and their houses burnt to ashes.

The Gambia, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Conference, filed a genocide case with the International Court of Justice, UN highest court, against Myanmar in December last year. The Court ordered in January this year to stop acts of genocidal in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Nay San Lwin said Rohingyas are victims of genocide and that the Saudi government should not do anything that could worsen the state of the Rohingyas.

dailystar@southasiajournal.net'
The Daily Star
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