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9,370 expatriate Bangladeshis detained in 26 countries: Foreign minister

by The Bangla Herald
9,370 expatriate Bangladeshis detained in 26 countries: Foreign minister

A total of 9,370 expatriate Bangladeshis, including workers, are in prisons in 26 countries across the world, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud said in Parliament on Monday.

In reply to a question from an independent MP elected from Sylhet-5 Mohammad Huchamuddin Chowdhury, the foreign minister also said some 5,746 Bangladeshis are detained in prisons in Saudi Arabia ,while the second highest number of Bangladeshis, 508, are detained in Turkey.

The other 24 countries are: Portugal (1), Algeria (1), Japan (2), Sri Lanka (3), Thailand (4), Korea (6), Egypt (6), China (Kunming 7), Libia (9), Italy (81), South Africa (385), Qatar (415), Spain (19), Hong Kong (122), Singapore (66), Brunei (16), China (Beijing 184), Abu Dhabi (404), Indonesia (49), Malaysia (219), Lebanon (28), Greece (414), Iraq (217), Myanmar (358) and Jordan (100),

From July 2023 to February 2024, a total of 1,226 people have been repatriated from Libya, 51 from prisons in France and other European countries, he said.

Another 1,950 Bangladeshis have been brought back from different prisons in India, Myanmar and various countries in the Middle East, he added.

The foreign minister said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Expatriates Welfare, Bangladesh embassies abroad and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) play an important role in freeing the expatriate Bangladeshis detained in jails or detention centres in various countries.

Besides, liaison has been established with concerned police stations and public prosecution offices for speedy and fair investigation of complaints against the migrant workers detained on charges of criminal offences in various countries, he said.

The foreign minister also said the government communicates with the highest level of the concerned countries for special and general amnesty for labourers or expatriate workers detained in prisons.

In response to a question of Awami League MP elected from Bhola-3 Nurunnabi Chowdhury, Mahmud said through 81 embassies, Bangladesh government is maintaining diplomatic relations with other countries where the country does not have any embassy.

While replying to a query of AL MP M Abdul Latif from Chattogram-11, Mahmud said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is continuing its work to maintain international attention on the Rohingya issue.

“As a result of this, regular visits of high-level representatives of different countries to the Rohingya camps of Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char are playing an important role in the permanent resolution to  the Rohingya crisis as well as in making effective international initiatives in the field of humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh,” the foreign minister said.

In response to another question of Latif, he said more than 8 lakh British-Bangladeshis are living in the UK and making a significant contribution to the UK politics, economy and culture.

“In the context of the post-Brexit UK labour market, we believe that opportunities are remaining to send skilled workers from Bangladesh. But it must be done in a legal and orderly immigration process,” he said.

In response to a question of AL MP Anwar Hossain Khan, the foreign minister said necessary measures have been taken in accordance with the existing laws of the concerned countries along with conventional diplomacy to bring back the fugitive killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

“It is not possible to provide detailed information in this regard as the process is still going on,” he added.

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