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Washington concerned about certain Digital Security Act provisions

  • Published at 01:09 am June 12th, 2019
Digital Security act - bigstock
Representational image Bigstock

Both sides emphasise need for Myanmar to address the root causes of the Rohingya crisis

The United States (US) has expressed its concerns about certain provisions of the much-talked about Digital Security Act and called upon Bangladesh to redouble its efforts in the protection of human rights.

In the 7th Bangladesh-US partnership dialogue held at the Department of State in Washington on Monday, both countries laid emphasis on the need for Myanmar to address the root causes of the Rohingya crisis, and to create the conditions necessary for voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable repatriation of the persecuted people to their homes in Rakhine.

The dialogue –a forum to discuss all bilateral issues between the countries –was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale.

The two governments reaffirmed their commitment to an enduring partnership, highlighting close cooperation on security, development, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and counterterrorism, said a joint statement issued Monday night. Both sides agreed to continue to work closely to advance a shared vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and secure Indo-Pacific region.

Both delegations discussed issues regarding freedom of expression and assembly. Bangladesh reaffirmed its commitment to the rule of law, and highlighted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s declaration that her government would focus on human rights and anti-corruption measures. 

Apart from raising concerns regarding certain provisions of the Digital Security Act, the US encouraged Bangladesh to redouble its efforts in protecting human rights and combating human trafficking. 

The US lauded Bangladesh’s generosity in hosting more than one million Rohingyas from Myanmar. Bangladesh also thanked the US for its continuous support, including providing over $494 million in humanitarian assistance to Bangladesh and Myanmar since August 2017. 

The US is committed to engaging the international community to mobilize additional assistance for the forcibly displaced Rohingyas temporarily staying in Bangladesh. 

The two governments also agreed to continue to work closely with the global community, including the United Nations and other international organizations, to continue to support the Rohingyas and their host communities, and to put effective pressure on Myanmar for a resolution of the crisis.

The two leaders acknowledged the prevalent challenge of terrorism, and the importance of adhering to human rights obligations while advancing security objectives. 

The two governments shared cyber security objectives, and agreed to explore cooperation, training, and technical support to advance mutual interests in this regard. 

Washington, pending congressional approval, is also committed to providing additional security assistance for Bangladesh to increase maritime domain awareness, piracy, and regional security coordination in the Bay of Bengal.

On the economic cooperation front, Bangladesh shared plans to facilitate foreign direct investment in Bangladesh to support infrastructure and energy projects.