Bangladesh summons US ambassador over sanctions against its security force

Dhaka, Dec 11 (EFE).- The government of Bangladesh on Saturday expressed displeasure over the United States imposing sanctions on an elite security force of the country over allegations of serious human rights violations.

“The US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller was summoned by Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen today to convey Dhaka’s discontent over the designated sanctions imposed yesterday by the US Departments of Treasury,” the Bangladeshi foreign ministry said in a statement.

Momen criticized the US decision as “unilateral” and “without prior consultation” and said that it “appeared to have been based more on unverified or unsubstantiated allegations.”

On Friday Washington had slapped economic sanctions against Bangladesh’s controversial elite police unit Rapid Action Force and six of its past and present senior officials.

The US treasury said that the RAB and other Bangladeshi agencies had been accused of around 600 extra-judicial killings since 2018 and as many enforced disappearances since 2009.

“Some reports suggest these incidents target opposition party members, journalists, and human rights activists,” the US department said in a statement, in which it imposed sanctions linked to alleged human rights violations on 15 individuals and 10 organizations spread over China, Russia, North Korea, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

However, Bangladesh’s Interior Minister Asaduzzaman Khan said in a video message on Saturday that the sanctions were not objective.

“Maybe they did it based on exaggerated news,” said Khan, insisting that the country had a an able judicial system to investigate possible abuse.

Meanwhile opposition leader Khandaker Moshrraf Hossain – of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party – on Saturday termed the sanctions as “shameful.”

“It is unfortunate when we were celebrating 50 years of independence, Bangladesh is being recognized worldwide as an undemocratic country. An organization of this Bangladesh got sanctioned by America,” he told reporters. EFE

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