Dhaka: The United States has announced a new visa policy to support Bangladesh’s goal of holding free, fair, and peaceful national elections.
The policy will preclude issuance of US visas for any Bangladeshi individuals who are responsible for undermining democratic election process.
The US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken made the announcement at a statement on 24 March.
Today, I am announcing a 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 United States will be able to restrict the issuance of visas for any Bangladeshi individual, believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh.
“This includes current and former Bangladeshi officials, members of pro-government and opposition political parties, and members of law enforcement, the judiciary, and security services,” the statement of the US secretary of state reads.
The US said actions that undermine the democratic election process include vote rigging, voter intimidation, the use of violence to prevent people from exercising their right to freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, and the use of measures designed to prevent political parties, voters, civil society, or the media from disseminating their views.
Blinken said the US on 3 May notified Bangladeshi government of this decision.
“The holding of free and fair elections is the responsibility of everyone—voters, political parties, the government, the security forces, civil society, and the media,” said the US secretary of state, adding, “I am announcing this policy to lend our support to all those seeking to advance democracy in Bangladesh.”