The Saudi government has again raised the issue of repatriating some 42,000 Rohingyas living there with Bangladeshi passports, officials said after a joint economic commission meeting held in Dhaka on Thursday.
"We do not want to send them back just for the sake of repatriation, we are concerned about the law and order situation," Mahir Abdul Rahman Gassim, the Saudi Arabian party chief and their deputy minister for labour, told reporters after the meeting at the National Economic Council at Agargaon.
He said they discussed the issue in the context of crime and security.
According to sources at the meeting, there is a special committee in Saudi to address the issue of Rohingya who went there illegally. Bangladesh was requested to assist the Saudi Arabian committee in today's joint commission discussion.
The Saudi team has asked for detailed data and official documents of the Rohingyas who entered Saudi Arabia. They also asked for information so that they can update the data they have, arrest criminals and drug traffickers, and curb terrorist activities to maintain peace and security in both countries.
Discussions on this issue have been going on for over a year. Saudi Arabia has written to Bangladesh several times to resolve the issue.
"The matter will be discussed with the concerned ministries," Monoar Ahmed, secretary of the Economic Relations Division, said at the end of the two-day meeting.
However, a high official of ERD said, "There are Rohingyas who have been living in Saudi for three generations. Some went there even before Bangladesh was born. There are 5 lakh Rohingyas living there without passports. How can we take responsibility for them?"
The official also said that the Rohingyas show a criminal tendency, and Saudi Arabia is concerned about them. He added that the expatriate ministry is in contact with the Saudi government regarding this.
The matter was also discussed recently at the Bangladesh Ambassadors' Conference held in Abu Dhabi.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said, "No Rohingya has returned to Bangladesh from Saudi Arabia or from any other country. We do not know if any Rohingya has gone to or return from Saudi Arabia with a Bangladeshi passport."