Ambassador Haas meets AL, BNP and JP leaders after US visa curbs

The meeting came a day after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced visa restrictions on Bangladeshi nationals complicit in vote rigging

Published : 25 May 2023, 12:01 PM
Updated : 25 May 2023, 12:01 PM

American Ambassador Peter Haas has met with representatives of the Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jatiya Party in Dhaka after the new US visa restrictions.

“We support free and fair elections. The new visa policy to restrict visas to those who undermine the democratic process applies to everyone,” the US Embassy in Dhaka tweeted on Thursday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new US immigration policy on Wednesday, restricting visas for Bangladeshis believed to be complicit in undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh government was informed about the new visa policy on May 3, he said in a statement.

Hours after Blinken’s announcement, the Bangladesh government responded to the policy by stating that it was committed to holding free and fair elections.

“Bangladesh would like to view [the restrictions] in the broader context of its government’s unequivocal commitment to holding free and fair elections at all levels for upholding the country’s democratic process,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The restriction applies to current and former Bangladeshi officials, members of pro-government and opposition political parties, and members of law enforcement, the judiciary, and security services.

Actions that fall under this restriction 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, according to the State Department statement.