Saudi Arabia to send 250 Rohingya back to Bangladesh: Activists group says

Saudi Arabia is planning to send 250 Rohingya men back to their homeland, Bangladesh, which will be considered as the second forced deportation of Rohingya Muslims by Riyadh this year, an activist group told Al Jazeera.

According to campaign coordinator for the Free Rohingya Coalition Ro Nay San Lwin, Saudi Arabia is home to approximately 300,000 Rohingyas. Lwin has urged the country’s authorities to stop the deportation, further adding the men have faced imprisonment in Bangladesh over their arrival back in their homeland.

According to AL Jazeera news reports, Lwin told AL Jazeera, “Majority of these Rohingya have residency permits and can live in Saudi Arabia legally.”

He said, “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.”

According to a video obtained by Lwin, the Rohingya men, who arrived in Saudi Arabia several years back, were being prepared to be taken to the Country’s Jeddah international airport on Sunday, where Rohingya would then head towards Bangladesh’s Dhaka.

Lwin said the Rohingya men were expected to be taken off either on late Sunday or Monday evening.

Lwin claimed many of the Rohingya entered Suadi Arabia region via fake identifications and fake documents, after obtaining passports for countries like India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh through smugglers.

Under the 1982 Citizenship Law, the Rohingya were not democratically recognized as one of Bangladesh’s 135 ethnic groups, imposing restrictions over their rights to work, study, vote, marry, travel, access to health services and practice their religion.

Saudi Arabia stopped issuing residency permits to Rohingya who entered the country after 2011.

Lwin said several human rights activists have urged the Saudi Arabia government not to release or deport Rohingya, over the last two years they had appealed Saudi diplomats and officials to intervene.

He said, “When these Rohingya arrive in Bangladesh, they could be jailed,” adding, “Saudi Arabia should stop these deportations and grant them residency permits like the other Rohingyas who arrived in the country before them.”

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