The US Department State has released a statement on Friday stating that the country will be imposing visa restrictions on “Bangladeshi individuals responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh”.
In the statement, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that the step is a reflection of America’s commitment to supporting “Bangladesh’s goal of peacefully holding free and fair national elections, and to support those seeking to advance democracy globally,”
The people in question are members of law enforcement, the ruling party, and the political opposition including current and former Bangladeshi officials, members of opposition and ruling political parties, and members of law enforcement, the judiciary, and security services.
Moreover, any other individual or personnel found “responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh may also be found ineligible for US visas under this policy in the future”
“The United States is committed to supporting free and fair elections in Bangladesh that are carried out in a peaceful manner,” the statement read.
Previously this year, in May, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the new visa policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) (“3C”) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to support Bangladesh’s goal of holding free, fair, and peaceful national elections.
Under this policy, the US could restrict the issuance of visas for any Bangladeshi individual found guilty in tampering with the election results.
The United States has said it will not release the names or numbers of people in Bangladesh subject to the visa restrictions.
Reported by Dhaka Tribune, US Embassy Spokesperson Bryan Schiller told UNB that “Visa records are confidential under US law,” and so, the names or numbers of people will not be revealed.
He further added that the imposition of the restriction has been done “After a careful review of the evidence”
On the contrary, Bangladesh’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Md Shahriar Alam responded to the update stating that the government has “nothing to lose and that they are not worried about the visa restrictions issue, as they are doing nothing wrong”.