US to restrict visas to any Bangladeshi individual undermining democratic elections in Bangladesh

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new visa policy under which US will 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.’

US State Department stated that it had notified the Bangladeshi government of this decision. The announcement was being made under the New Visa Policy under the Immigration and Nationality Act to support Bangladesh’s goal of holding free, fair, and peaceful national elections.

The statement further 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.

The Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that holding of free and fair elections is the responsibility of everyone—voters, political parties, the government, the security forces, civil society, and the media. He said announcing this policy would lend US support to all those seeking to advance democracy in Bangladesh.

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