The United States has enforced visa restrictions on individuals within law enforcement, the ruling party, and the political opposition, US Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu said on Friday.
In an interview with The Daily Star, Donal Lu said they won't share the names of those who have received visa restrictions citing that visa records, including individual visa denials, are confidential under US law.
"What I can say is that we have looked very closely at incidents since we announced this policy. After a careful review of the evidence, we have imposed visa restrictions on members of law enforcement, the ruling party, and the political opposition," Donald Lu told the English daily.
He said, "The State Department evaluates individuals' ineligibility based on a thorough, well-documented, and fact-checked case-by-case examination of credible information regarding those obstructing the democratic process in Bangladesh. This process is applied equally and rigorously to members of the government, opposition, and security services."
Immediate family members of restricted individuals may also face ineligibility for entry into the United States, he added.
Donald Lu said "This policy encompasses the entire democratic election process, extending beyond just election day. While the exact date of the election may not be known, it is evident that the electoral process is actively underway."
Regarding recent exchanges between US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Donald Lu emphasised the robust and multifaceted bilateral relationship between the United States and Bangladesh. The US has played a critical role in Bangladesh's development journey, providing substantial assistance over the past 51 years.
"The United States is actively engaged in helping Bangladesh combat its current dengue crisis and stands as the largest foreign investor in the country. The security partnership is strong and long-lasting, and the US remains the primary donor for the Rohingya refugee crisis, aiding Bangladesh in caring for the world's largest refugee population," he added.
Donald Lu concluded by expressing the United States' commitment to further deepening its engagement with Bangladesh, aligning with the aspirations of the Bangladeshi people for free and fair elections conducted in a peaceful manner.