In order to ensure that Bangladesh's national elections are free, fair, and peaceful, the United States has established a new visa policy. As a result of the new policy, Bangladeshis participating in or accountable for blocking Bangladesh's democratic election process will not be granted visas by the United States.

This was revealed in a statement released on Wednesday by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

Current and former officials of the government of Bangladesh, members of both pro- and anti-government political parties, law enforcement officials, members of the judiciary, and those responsible for or involved in obstructing Bangladesh's democratic electoral process are all covered by the new visa policy announced under several sections of the US Immigration and Nationality Act. Included are those from the security services. 

The latest US ruling was originally mentioned by Antony Blinken in a tweet. Later, the US State Department posted his comprehensive comment on this subject on their website. In addition to discussing the new visa rules, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller also brought up the Bangladesh elections at the regular news briefing. He responded to a number of inquiries from the press on this.

Vote manipulation, voter intimidation, and the use of violence to stop people from exercising their right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly are among the actions that, according to a statement from the US Secretary of State, obstruct the democratic election process. Additionally, there are a number of initiatives to stop political parties, voters, civil society, and the media from participating in elections.

When questioned about the United States' recent announcement of a new visa policy, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam said yesterday night, "It is not a ban. The BNP should be concerned that visa restrictions might arise from the violence they committed before and after the elections. Election freedom and integrity are important to us. Therefore, this visa policy poses no threat to the government.

Interestingly, the United States has frequently emphasized its want for free and fair elections for Bangladesh's future parliament. The United States has reinforced this expectation, particularly during the several conferences and talks that have taken place between the two nations in Dhaka and Washington thus far this year.

Anthony Blinken tweeted, 'Today I am announcing a new visa policy to advance the process of free and fair elections. Under this policy we will be able to impose visa restrictions on individuals and their family members who are responsible or involved in obstructing the democratic electoral process in Bangladesh.'

In the statement, the US Secretary of State said, 'The responsibility of conducting free and fair elections is the responsibility of voters, political parties, government, security forces, civil society, and media. I announce this policy to extend our support to all those who want to advance democracy in Bangladesh.'

The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and seven former and present members of this unit were previously subject to penalties by the United States in December 2021 due to claims of grave human rights abuses.

The USA is watching

The State Department has not imposed any sanctions, according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller in response to inquiries from reporters during the news briefing. However, they are prepared to file a lawsuit in accordance with these parts. wanted to let the people of Bangladesh know that they support free and fair elections there and are prepared to do something about it.

Matthew Miller responded to a different query by saying, "I want to send a message to anyone in Bangladesh that we are watching the situation."

"This is a message from our side that we support free and fair elections and that we have the ability to hold accountable those who obstruct free and fair elections," the US State Department official said in response to inquiries.

Matthew Miller stated that if electoral violations are found, action would be done in accordance with this visa policy.

Bangladesh's reaction on Visa ban

The international community, including the US, has received plaudits from the government for its steadfast backing of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's ongoing efforts to secure free and fair elections. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded in this manner on Thursday morning in an official statement about the new US visa regulations.
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