US: Bangladesh an important security partner

There is still room for Bangladesh to go for a written agreement with the USA under the “Leahy” law, says an US official

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The United States considers Bangladesh an “important security partner” and wants to make sure that its assistance is used consistent with the US laws and principles as the two countries are looking for greater cooperation on all fronts in the days to come paying respects to human rights.

There is still room for Bangladesh to go for a written agreement with the USA under the “Leahy” law which is a global requirement, an official at the US Embassy in Dhaka told UNB on Sunday.

Bangladesh has not replied yet to the US request for a thorough scrutiny into the legal aspects of the whole issue though this global requirement took effect on January 1 this year.

Asked whether there is any impact for the delay, the US Embassy official said there has been no impact (as of now).

It was earlier mentioned that such requirement regarding a written agreement shall take effect no later than December 31, 2021.

The United States added a new requirement to the “Leahy” law that applies to certain transfers of assistance.

The new Leahy law provision requires a written agreement that the recipient government will comply with the Leahy law prohibition on assistance to any foreign security forces unit that is credibly implicated in a gross violation of human rights.   

Leahy law helps ensure that human rights are not violated, said the official, noting that it reaffirms that whoever receives this assistance is not going to commit gross violation of human rights.

The US says their bilateral relationship with Bangladesh is strong and they expect to expand it with greater cooperation in place.

“This year is really an opportunity to build on those strong ties that we have in the areas of commerce, trade and also in security cooperation,” said the US official.  

Terming the latest changes in the Leahy law “very small and narrow” he said no assistance may be provided in cases where the recipient security force unit or units cannot be identified prior to the transfer of assistance, unless a written agreement is in place.  

The Leahy law, named after its main sponsor US Senator Patrick Leahy, applies to military and law enforcement programmes.

It prohibits the provision of assistance to foreign security force units where there is credible information that the unit has committed gross violations of human rights with impunity.

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