Friday, January 18, 2019 | ePaper

Smart diplomacy needed to stop Rohingya deportation by KSA

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DAYS after India deported a Rohingya Muslim family of five lodged at an Assam prison to Myanmar, the Saudi authorities on Tuesday deported 13 Rohingyas to Bangladesh, who had travelled to the Kingdom with Bangladeshi passports around seven years back. Newspapers reported that, Riyadh may send back more Rohingyas, now kept in detention camps in Jeddah, creating more worries for Bangladesh which is already burdened with over 1.2 million Rohingya refugees. The Kingdom is deporting the Rohingyas to Bangladesh instead of extraditing them to Myanmar. It's true that many Rohingyas, now locked up in the Shumaisi detention centre, went to Saudi Arabia using Bangladeshi passports while Bangladesh embassy also did not issue travel pass to them. The counterfeited passports were prepared with the help of middlemen in passport offices and bribing the officials to get police clearance.
Referring some video clips, Middle East Eye reported that many Rohingyas are now protesting the deportation attempt of Saudi authority. Several Rohingyas are in the refugee camps across the South, South East Asian countries and the Middle East. So, Saudi Arabia could easily provide shelter to some Rohingyas.  If deported, the number of Rohingyas will only increase in the Bangladeshi camps which are facing an acute shortage of essential utilities.
Some Rohingyas are also allegedly living in Saudi Arabia with the fake passports of different countries, such as Bhutan, India, Pakistan and Nepal. Being persecuted in Myanmar, they fled to Bangladesh in different times since the 1980s. Since August 2017, over 750,000 Rohingyas fled brutal military campaign in Rakhine to Bangladesh.
The Bangladesh government has no other way but to protest the deportation attempt of Saudi Government. It is not possible to create sudden pressure as several million Bangladeshi are working in the Kingdom and still the country is the largest destination of unskilled Bangladeshis. Bangladesh Foreign Ministry will have to take very cautious diplomatic initiatives to tackle the situation.

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