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Bangladesh renews call for lifting of US sanctions on RAB


Dec 31, 2010
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Bangladesh renews call for lifting of US sanctions on RAB​

BySenior Correspondent

Published:14th Jul, 2023 at 1:06 AM

The Bangladesh government has once again urged the United States to withdraw sanctions against the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) over allegations of human rights violations.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen made the call during bilateral discussions with Uzra Zeya, the US under secretary of state for democracy and human rights, in Dhaka on Thursday.

“I have reiterated our request to the under secretary of the withdrawal of the US sanctions on RAB,” the foreign secretary told journalists during a joint media briefing after the meeting.
On Dec 10, 2021, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on RAB as well as seven of its current and former officers, citing serious human rights violations.

The Bangladesh government has been continuously calling for the lifiting of the sanctions, but the US is refusing to do so, saying ‘it’s complicated’.

Zeya sat for a luncheon meeting with Masud after her meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as well as law and home ministers.
The foreign secretary and Under Secretary Zeya discussed the protracted Rohingya crisis including achieving the ultimate goal of repatriation, challenges to humanitarian responses, and accountability measures, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

They also talked about other issues related to labour reforms, civil rights, general elections and trafficking in persons, the statement added.
“We have also discussed and exchanged our views on matters related to civil rights and upcoming national elections, Momen said. “We also talked about collaboration in civilian security, including trafficking in persons.”


Zeya visited Rohingya Refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar on Wednesday to hear about the ‘atrocities and genocide’ committed on these Myanmar nationals, who fled persecution in the Rakhine state.

During the briefing with the foreign secretary, the senior US diplomat announced an additional $74 million in funding for Rohingya people in Myanmar and Bangladesh camps.

“The United States urges continued support by other donors and potential donors, and we support efforts to create the conditions for eventual safe, dignified, informed and voluntary returns of Rohingya,” she said, adding, “Conditions do not currently exist.”

Bangladesh has been applauded internationally for providing shelter to more than 700,000 Rohingya people following the August 2017 Myanmar military crackdown in the Rakhine State that the UN termed “ethnic cleansing”.

Around 400,000 other Rohingya took refuge in Bangladesh, escaping decades of persecution.

Attempts to get repatriation going in 2018 and 2019 failed as the refugees, fearing violence, refused to go back to Myanmar, now ruled by a military junta that seized power in 2021.

China has been pursuing a tripartite mechanism with Bangladesh and Myanmar to start the repatriation process with a small number of refugees on a pilot basis, which is currently stalled at the verification stage.

“We discussed all the options regarding our pathway to move forward for this Rohingya crisis. One of them is our tripartite move to repatriate the small number of Rohingyas,” Foreign Secretary Momen said in response to a question on the tripartite mechanism.

“We updated them (the US delegation) about the latest situation. They appreciated our concerns also and shared some of their thoughts on how to move forward. So, we will be in touch with them,” he added.

Just calling for lifting sanctions on RAB won't help. We need to reform this elite police force to get the sanctions lifted.
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