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BD travel alerts published ‘in wrong way’

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BD travel alerts published ‘in wrong way’

MAK Jilany, The Report: Different countries in their travel alerts advised their nationals to move with caution in Bangladesh. The countries have neither told them to leave Bangladesh nor stop their travel here.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar said to The Report in his office on Thursday, “The travel alerts for Bangladesh are being published in a wrong way. It has created a wrong perception. For example, Australia has issued four travel alerts. They are—normal safety precautions on travel, a high degree of caution, reconsidering the need to travel and skipping the travel. The travel alerts have advised travellers neither to skip Bangladesh nor leave it. The travel alerts have just cautioned them.”

The junior minister also said, “Bangladesh has taken special measures to ensure security of foreigners following the killing of two foreign nationals in the country. The law and order situation is under control of the government. This has been explained to the foreign diplomats staying in Bangladesh formally. They have also expressed their satisfaction over the security measures.”

He also said, “There is no bar to the diplomats’ visit anywhere in Bangladesh except the Chittagong Hill Tracts. They even do not need any prior permission for it.”

Expressing the firm stance on security of foreign travellers in Bangladesh, he said, “No country forbade their nationals to visit Bangladesh.”

It has been found that the same levels of travel alerts had been issued for foreigners in Bangladesh before and after the January 5, 2014 general election.

About this the state minister said, “The same alerts had been there earlier also. But this much activity was not noticed then. And a wrong perception is now being created over this. We have decided to give all including foreign businessmen the correct information.”

He also said, “The tensions over this are easing. We are working. We are in contact with the people concerned all the time. If we find any reaction from any country out of proportion, we will immediately let the ambassador of that country know that it is not true.”

On the other hand, while talking to the media this week the US and UK envoys expressed satisfaction over the security measures.

US ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat said, “We have not advised anybody to stop visit to Bangladesh nor leave the country. We have just cautioned them.”

UK High Commissioner in Dhaka Robert Gibson said, “The government has let us know the security measures taken across the country. The foreign minister and the foreign secretary, the home minister and the home secretary all have assured us of the security. We are satisfied.”

Miscreants gunned down Italian citizen Cesare Tavella, 50, on September 28 last in the city’s Gulshan area. Later Italy, the US, the UK, Australia and other countries issued travel alerts for their nationals in Bangladesh. But those travel alerts did not give any message to skip visit to Bangladesh. Nor the alerts advised the travellers to leave the country.

Later on October 3 last masked gunmen killed Japanese man Kunio Hoshi in Rangpur, the second foreign national killed within a week. The foreign countries raised alarms again for their nationals visiting Bangladesh. Those alerts also have not told any traveller to stop visit to Bangladesh nor leave it.

A look into the travel alerts of Australia reveals that the country issues the travel alerts at four levels. The second level of travel alert was issued for Bangladesh over the incidents. This level of alert just cautions their nationals on their travel. This has neither told the travellers to leave the country nor stop any visit to it.

Apart from Bangladesh, the second level of Australian travel alert also covers India, Thailand, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Myanmar, Kuwait, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, the Philippines, Nepal, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Panama and some other countries.

According to the home ministry, all required security measures have been taken at the residences, workplaces and other important places so that the two lakh 24 thousand foreigners now staying in Bangladesh can work freely.

Ends/ thereport24.com/AR/Oct 9, 2015