US to Restrict Visas for Bangladeshis Who Undermine Elections

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken || Photo: US Embassy Bangladesh Official Site

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken || Photo: US Embassy Bangladesh Official Site

The US announced a new policy on Wednesday that will restrict visas to Bangladeshi citizens who challenge the democratic election process in their country.

Under the new visa policy, the United States can limit the issuing of visas for “any Bangladeshi individual, believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

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.

Bangladesh was notified of the decision to introduce the policy on May 3.

The State Department outlined actions that qualify disturbing the democratic election process as “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.”

As part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the visa policy is aimed at supporting Bangladesh’s goal of holding free, fair, and peaceful national elections.

General elections in Bangladesh are tentatively scheduled to be held in January 2024.

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