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Dhaka Tribune

ED: Improving the strength of the Bangladesh passport

No longer are we an inconsequential nation whose citizens can be treated poorly abroad

Update : 07 Oct 2021, 07:11 AM

According to the Henley Passport Index 2021, the Bangladesh passport has been ranked as the ninth weakest passport in the world. Out of a 116 spots in the index, Bangladesh stands at an abysmal 108th position, tied with conflict-ridden Kosovo and Libya. This poor showing, of course, comes as no surprise whatsoever, as the Bangladeshi passport has never been particularly strong out in the world. 

This is a terrible shame, because the passport a person holds, in many ways, determines how that person is treated in foreign shores. Due to the low esteem of the Bangladeshi passport, our citizens are subjected not only to endless hassles regarding obtaining visas which other nationals simply do not require, they often face difficulty and harassment in foreign airports for matters which would simply not be an issue for citizens of other countries. 

Bangladesh has come a long way in these past few years, and no longer are we an inconsequential nation whose citizens can be treated poorly abroad. It is about time the government took a concerted effort to raise the esteem of the Bangladesh passport: This will not only safeguard the rights and dignity of all Bangladeshi citizens traveling abroad, but will also boost our economy, culture, and society.

This can only come about through careful diplomacy, and the forging of close ties with other countries. We already have plenty of development partners, so it is entirely sensible for the next step in our partnership to be visa-free access for Bangladesh to those countries. Of course, no illusions should be harboured -- our passport will not rival Japan or Singapore anytime soon. But surely, we deserve to be placed much higher in the index that our current showing. 

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