May 25, 2023
DHAKA – The US will deny visas to people believed to be responsible for or complicit in undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a briefing on Wednesday said, “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. The United States notified the Bangladeshi government of this decision on May 3, 2023.
Today, I announced a new visa policy to promote free and fair elections. Under this policy, we can impose visa restrictions on individuals and their immediate family members if they are responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 24, 2023
“The holding of free and fair elections is the responsibility of everyone—voters, political parties, the government, the security forces, civil society, and the media. I am announcing this policy to lend our support to all those seeking to advance democracy in Bangladesh,” he said.
Explaining “undermining the democratic election process”, he said actions including 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 US announced the new visa policy under Section 212(a)(3)(C) (“3C”) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.