Saudi Arabia has asked Bangladesh to either issue passports to Rohingya or face ”consequences”.
For Riyadh, the Rohingya refugees on the Saudi soil are still ‘undesirables,’ a burden to be dumped on Bangladesh.
The move comes amid rising concerns that their welcome in Saudi Arabia may have come to end Around 54,000 Rohingyas have already taken refuge in the country.
Bangladesh’s foreign minister AK Abdul Momen confirmed this in a press conference. Bangladesh has balked at the idea, but suggested it may be able to provide passports to those who previously held them. Since 2017, Bangladesh has given refuge to over a million Rohingya fleeing ethnic cleansing and persecution from neighbouring Myanmar.
Burmese authorities have consistently refused to give Rohingya passports, given they do not recognize them as citizens.
Bangladesh relies on nearly $15 billion annually in remittances from its migrant workers abroad, 60 percent of which comes from saudi arabia, putting it in a bind.
Local media also reported that foreign ministry officials said that riyadh threatened to put limits on migration workers from bangladesh if it fails to accept Saudi Arabia’s request, which holds devastating implications for bangladesh’s economy.
But while the possibility of being granted passports is seemingly positive on the surface, it has not been welcomed as good news by Rohingya living in Saudi Arabia.
Ahmed khatun, a Rohingya who has lived in jeddah his entire life identifies with saudi arabia more than his homeland.
“We’ve been living in fear of being deported for years. So whenever we’re mentioned in media here our fear grows.”
Khatun details how some of his family relatives were locked up for years in detention centers without charges being pressed for being ‘illegal migrants’.
“After that happened, we knew anything could happen to us. It’s not fair though. My father was born here. I studied here. I grew up here. This is my home now,” he says in fluent Arabic.
Ahmed’s grandfather came to saudi arabia in the 1970’s, and was granted residency by king faisal in a royal bid to support the minority and protect it from the depredations it endured even then. But raised in Saudi Arabia or not, ultimately “it’s out of our hands,” he says.
Courtesy – Wion News