Tue, 26 Sep 2023

By Ashoke RajNew Delhi [India], June 6 (ANI): Bangladesh government has decided to reach out to all six US congressmen who recently penned a letter to President Joe Biden on "human rights abuses" in the country and for people to be provided "best possible chance" for free and fair parliamentary elections.

Bangladesh Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahariar Alam said there is a significant gap in the information and they will respond to issues raised in the letter.

"We have received the letter. We will reach out to all these members and not only to them but also to all those who are interested in these, we will update them on a regular basis about the issues covered in the letter. There is a significant gap in the information," he said.

Six US Congressmen wrote a letter to President Biden on May 17 and referred to upcoming general elections in Bangladesh.

"We request urgent action to stop the human rights abuses by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazad of Bangladesh, and to give the people of Bangladesh the best possible chance for free and fair parliamentary elections to be scheduled this fall."The letter said that various NGOs have documented "hundreds of human rights abuses by Sheikh Hasina's government since assuming power in January 2009".

The letter referred to reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Freedom House and United Nations and alleged that these show that Hasina government has "increasingly repudiated democratic systems, perpetrated widespread abuse against its citizens..." .

"The well-documented abuses by the Hasina government are not confined to her political opponents; the government also has persecuted ethnic and religious minorities in Bangladesh," the letter said.

US Congressman Scott Perry, Bob Good, Barry Moore, Tim Burchett, Warren Davidson, and Keith Self signed the letter and all six of them belong to the Republican Party.

The US Congressmen alleged that religious minorities are also suffering in Bangladesh.

"Since Sheikh Hasina's rise to power, the Hindu population has been halved. Looting and burning of households, destruction of temples and religious idols, murder, rape, and forced religious conversion are causing Hindus to flee Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina's government also has persecuted Bangladesh's minority Christian population - burning and looting places of worship jailing pastors, and breaking up families when a religious conversion occurs," the letter said.

The US has issued a new visa policy for Bangladesh.

"A 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...This includes current and former Bangladeshi officials, members of pro-government and opposition political parties, and members of law enforcement, the judiciary, and security service," the US State Department had said.

It said that the United States had notified the Bangladeshi government of its decision on May 3.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Momen had said earlier this month that that the latest US visa policy to promote free and fair elections in Bangladesh will not impact the ruling party Awami League."The latest US visa policy will not have any impact on Awami League and its workers, Awami League is a great believer in people and democracy," he said. (ANI)

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