The Department of State is taking steps to impose visa restrictions on Bangladeshi individuals responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh, said its Spokesperson Matthew Miller on Friday.
"Our actions today reflect the continued commitment of the United States to supporting Bangladesh’s goal of peacefully holding free and fair national elections, and to support those seeking to advance democracy globally," he said in a statement.
These individuals include members of law enforcement, the ruling party, and the political opposition, he said.
"The United States is committed to supporting free and fair elections in Bangladesh that are carried out in a peaceful manner," Miller said.
These persons and members of their immediate family may be found ineligible for entry into the United States.
Additional persons found to have been responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh may also be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy in the future, according to the US Department of State.
This includes current and former Bangladeshi officials, members of opposition and ruling political parties, and members of law enforcement, the judiciary, and security services, Miller said.
Commenting on the latest decision, US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Human Rights and Democracy Uzra Zeya wrote on X, formerly known as twitter that the announcement affirms their commitment to "free, fair and peaceful elections" worldwide and supports efforts of government of Bangladesh partners, civil society and media to ensure democratic elections that reflect the will of Bangladeshi people.
In May this year, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the 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 restrict the issuance of visas for any Bangladeshi individual, believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh.
The United States notified the Bangladesh government of this decision on May 3, 2023.