Bangladeshi FM calls US sanctions on elite force “unfortunate”

Insight Online News

Dhaka, Dec 12 : Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen slammed the US sanctions on officials of the country’s Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) over alleged rights abuse, saying the move was “very unfortunate” and “not fact-based.”

“I would expect from (the) USA more solid fact-based response,” Momen said on Saturday, ensuring that Dhaka would review if it was an outcome of any “geopolitics,” according to the national news agency BSS.

He made the remarks after the Foreign Ministry summoned the U.S. envoy in Dhaka, Earl R. Miller, to convey Bangladesh’s “discontent” over the development.

Replying to a question of whether the development could strain Bangladesh-U.S. relations, the foreign minister said, “I don’t think so,” but quickly added that “it depends on the United States.”

Momen said the allegations of gross rights violations by the anti-crime elite police unit were not “based on facts” and RAB was a disciplined institution that instead “has been securing human rights for the people of Bangladesh.”

On Friday, the U.S. Departments of Treasury and the Department of State imposed human rights-related sanctions on RAB and seven incumbent and former top officials of the elite force, including incumbent Bangladeshi Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed. He previously commanded the elite force as its director-general.

The foreign minister said the U.S. claimed that RAB killed 600 people in 10 years, but “we have no information who were killed,” saying the U.S. decision should have been backed by facts.


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