A group of Rohingya desperate mothers with tearful eyes in ragged dresses gathered in a camp location of Refugees in Southern Cox’s Bazar trying to send a request to the king of humanity, King Salman through social media to release their sons or relatives who have been detained in al-Shumaisi detention center for years under immigration law.
They resorted to social media after the issue didn’t get media attention though it is a longstanding issue for years and an issue of uncertainty.
The women who had fled recently to Bangladesh stood holding a banner with a message to the King of KSA reading “We request the release of our sons from al-Shumaisi Jail/Detention Center, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia”.
Around two thousands Rohingya have been detained for years in al-Shumaisi center by Saudi authorities with charge of residence law violation – overstay or lack of legal status.
Asked why they were not released while the Saudi government provided tens of thousands Rohingya with exclusive residence permits without having passports under the special status correction process, one of the women replied that, as mentioned in the banner, those detainees entered the kingdom by passports from neighboring countries provided by travel agents and, as such, they were recorded as citizens of those countries in the immigration biometric system.
When they were arrested, they were neither accepted as Rohingya as the biometric system proves otherwise nor the respective embassies accept them to deport to the countries they came though due to failure to prove their origin in those countries.
According to the victims, some human traffickers and travel agencies help them reach Saudi Arabia giving them hope of safety in Saudi Arabia after they have fled persecutions in Myanmar.
The option left before the Saudi authorities is either to keep them detained or consider the request of their mostly widow mothers or wives sent to the King.
“After military killed my husband in 2012 massacre, the hope left for me was my son. But when he escaped to Saudi Arabia and arrested there, I have no one to take care of mine. I could not contact him yet and am surviving on begging from door to door,” said Khadijah Khatun, 79, mother of a detainee.
There are similar tragic stories in the life of those women, because either their sons, husbands or fathers were arrested for more or less than four years.
In a social media contact, a detainee confirmed that there are sick persons, elderlies and disables among them.
“We hope that King Salman will release our sons, husbands, fathers or brothers detained in al-Shumaisi under immigration case after verifying that they are originally from Arakan. Saudi Arabia has being supporting the plight of Rohingya and giving legal shelter to hundreds of thousands of us for many decades.” Khadijah concluded.