Despite the recent safety and security measures for foreigners in Bangladesh, countries like the UK, Australia, and Canada are still advising their citizens to maintain “high degree of caution” in their travel alerts.
Several foreign missions in Dhaka, including the embassies of Japan and Spain, have even cancelled their scheduled programmes “due to unavoidable situation”.
The Bangladesh ministries of home and foreign affairs at a joint briefing on Tuesday elaborated the steps for the security of diplomats and other foreigners working in remote areas across the country.
Nearly 2,24,000 foreigners are in Bangladesh.
“Unfortunately, the Embassy of Japan has decided to postpone the Study in Japan seminar in Mymensingh, due to unavoidable situation. We will announce again when the seminar is rescheduled,” according to an announcement of the embassy yesterday.
The seminar was scheduled for October 19.
The Spanish embassy cancelled its National Day reception scheduled for this evening at Hotel La Meridian.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali was supposed to attend the reception as chief guest. But the embassy in a note verbale informed the foreign ministry about the cancellation, embassy sources said.
The Australian, British and Canadian high commissions in their updated alerts have asked their citizens to exercise “a high degree of caution” in Bangladesh.
“There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners,” the UK said in its advisory updated yesterday.
“You should be particularly vigilant and take appropriate security precautions. Keep a low profile in all public spaces and limit your attendance at events where westerners may gather, for example, in hotels or conference centres,” the UK alert added.
Canada has also asked its citizen to “exercise a high degree of caution” in Bangladesh.
Australia in its latest advisory also asked its citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution in Bangladesh”.
The Australian government has advised its staff to travel only by vehicle in Dhaka for the time being.
“The foreign missions will not lower or soften their travel alerts until and unless they are fully convinced that the investigation is going in the right direction,” a Western ambassador told The Daily Star last night.
The ambassador said foreign diplomats still had the firm apprehension about violent attacks.
Talking to The Daily Star, the ambassador of an Arab country said the perception of the western countries were not the same as that of Arab, African or Muslim countries.
However, German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Muller paid a two-day visit to Bangladesh and attended several programmes in and outside Dhaka.
Muller, who arrived in Dhaka Tuesday, accompanied a 10-member delegation, including Parliamentary State Secretary for Economic Cooperation and Development Hans-Joachim Fuchtel.
The German embassy also hosted a reception yesterday evening at the Westin Hotel to celebrate the Day of German Unity. German Ambassador Thomas Prinz hosted the reception and it was attended and addressed by the visiting German minister and Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed.
Even though a good number of foreign and local dignitaries attended it, the number of diplomats from foreign missions was comparatively smaller than usual, witnesses said.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh in a travel advisory asked its nationals not to visit Libya, due to the fighting and deterioration of the situation there.
“Bangladesh nationals including migrant workers are again strongly advised not to undertake any visit to Libya in view of the ongoing fighting and deteriorating security situation,” according to an official announcement.
“Unless unavoidable, visiting Bangladesh nationals from Libya are also advised to refrain from travelling back to Libya for the time being,” said the foreign ministry press release.