Sun Nov 19 2017, 4:09:21 +03

Saudi Arabia granted legal residency to 125,000 Myanmar refugees

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(Jeddah- AlummahWorld-Muharram 21, 1437, November 3, 2015) Kingdom of Saudi Arabia granted legal residency to over 120,000 refugees from Myanmar where Rohingya Muslims minority faces mass killing and ignorance by the state authorities.


During the ongoing year 2015, issue of migration of thousands of Rohingya Muslims people from Myanmar attract global attention.
More than 125,000 refugees from Myanmar have been issued four-year resident permits, clarifying the status of more than half of the 250,000-strong Burmese community currently living in the Kingdom, Saudi Gazette reported.


The permits were issued by the Passport Department in the Makkah province. Permits for the remaining refugees are currently being processed.
The government began correcting the legal status of refugees from Myanmar (erstwhile Burma) two years ago, and the UN has applauded the efforts as a pioneering move by Saudi Arabia.


The Saudi government said it issued the free resident permits to the Myanmar refugees on humanitarian grounds, irrespective of race, religion or language.
“Those who obtain resident permits will be qualified to receive free medical treatment and school education as well as jobs,” said an informed source, requesting anonymity.


The head of the correction committee, Col. Mohammed Maqbool, and spokesman for the Passport Department in the Makkah region, Col. Mohammed Al-Hussain, both spoke about the measures taken to legalize the status of refugees.


“Resident permits are issued following a series of measures. First, we make sure they have not involved in any criminal activity,” Maqbool said. “Second, we collect their personal information by asking them to fill the necessary forms. Third, we ask them to present medical fitness certificates.”


A delegation from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) visited the Kingdom recently to study the Saudi experience in formalizing the residential status of refugees from Myanmar.


The UN team reportedly described the Kingdom’s experience with the Burmese community as a model that could be used by other countries.
The acting regional representative of UNHCR in the GCC, Nabil Othman, was quoted as saying he appreciated Saudi Arabia’s efforts to rectify the residential status of thousands of Myanmar refugees.


The Rohingya people are a Muslim minority group residing in the Rakhine state if Myanmar formerly known as Arakan. The Rohingya people are considered “stateless entities”, as the Myanmar government has been refusing to recognise them as one of the ethnic groups of the country.


In October 2015, researchers from the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London released a report drawing on leaked government documents that reveals an increasing "ghettoisation, sporadic massacres, and restrictions on movement" on Rohingya peoples. The researchers suggest that the Myanmar government are in the final stages of an organised process of genocide against the Rohingya and have called upon the international community to redress the situation as such.