|By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-186-164.balt.east.verizon.net - 22.214.171.124) on Thursday, March 16, 2006 - 2:04 am: Edit Post|
The US Peace Corps has suspended its activities in Bangladesh indefinitely for fear that Americans may become the targets of Islamic militants
The US Peace Corps has suspended its activities in Bangladesh indefinitely for fear that Americans may become the targets of Islamic militants. The Peace Corps based its decision to pull out on a thorough assessment of the current environment, she said, rather than any specific threat.
Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Hemayet Uddin said the Peace Corps' decision to pull its personnel out of Bangladesh on security grounds was surprising. Bangladesh has provided full security to foreigners living there and none have been targeted by Islamic militants, he told the BBC. "It is an ill-advised decision and there is no reason to do it," he said.
The US Peace Corps has suspended its activities in Bangladesh indefinitely for fear that Americans may become the targets of Islamic militants
US Peace Corps leaves Bangladesh
RAB personnel with captured militant leader Bangla Bhai
Bangladesh recently arrested several top leaders of the JMB
The US Peace Corps has suspended its activities in Bangladesh indefinitely for fear that Americans may become the targets of Islamic militants.
A spokeswoman said all 70 volunteers had now left the country. Bangladesh said the move was "ill-advised".
The decision follows the arrest of militants blamed for a series of bomb attacks. Peace Corps fears retaliatory attacks by "terrorist elements".
The US on Tuesday expressed support for anti-terrorism actions in Bangladesh.
In the past few weeks security forces have arrested five of the top seven leaders of the banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB).
The group's chief, Abdur Rahman, was seized two weeks ago in the north-eastern town of Sylhet. His deputy, Siddiqul Islam, better known as Bangla Bhai, was captured four days later.
The JMB's alleged top bomb-maker also died in a blast during an operation by security forces on Monday in the eastern town of Comilla, the BBC's Waliur Rahman in Dhaka says.
The government blames the JMB for bombings which have claimed nearly 30 lives since last August.
US Peace Corps press director Barbara Daly told the BBC News website that the safety and security of its volunteers had to be the organisation's "number one priority".
The Peace Corps based its decision to pull out on a thorough assessment of the current environment, she said, rather than any specific threat.
Abdur Rahman in his house before surrendering
Abdur Rahman is the chief of the banned JMB
In a statement released by the US embassy in Dhaka, the Peace Corps hailed the capture of the top militants as a significant step forward in the campaign against terrorism and extremism.
"Ironically, one consequence of that success is concern over possible reprisal attacks against Americans or other Western nationals by JMB activists still at large," the statement said.
Ms Daly said the security situation in Bangladesh would be periodically reviewed to determine whether the suspension should continue.
"We would love to return to Bangladesh but we just have to wait for the environment to be the right one before we do so," she added.
Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Hemayet Uddin said the Peace Corps' decision to pull its personnel out of Bangladesh on security grounds was surprising.
Bangladesh has provided full security to foreigners living there and none have been targeted by Islamic militants, he told the BBC.
"It is an ill-advised decision and there is no reason to do it," he said.
Since returning to Bangladesh in 1998 after a 30-year gap, Peace Corps volunteers have worked chiefly in education and youth development.
The movement traces its roots back to 1960, when John F Kennedy - then a US senator - called on university students to serve their country in the cause of peace by volunteering around the world.
It was officially founded a year later, with the mission of creating world peace and friendship.
The Peace Corps periodically pulls out of countries because of safety concerns caused by political unrest or natural disaster.
Nepal, Uzbekistan, Haiti and hurricane-affected Caribbean nations are among those to see volunteers withdraw in recent years.
When this story was posted in March 2006, this was on the front page of PCOL:
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Re-envision Peace Corps
Slavery was once called "the peculiar institution," but a better candidate for this title may be the Peace Corps. Current geopolitics make this a good time to probe Peace Corps' peculiarity, as prelude to a long overdue reconceptualization of what is arguably the most underused federal entity. An imaginatively reinvented Peace Corps could powerfully promote US interests in a period when perceptions of American motives are increasingly relevant to global realignment.
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On March 1, 1961, President John F. Kennedy issues Executive Order #10924, establishing the Peace Corps as a new agency: "Life in the Peace Corps will not be easy. There will be no salary and allowances will be at a level sufficient only to maintain health and meet basic needs. Men and women will be expected to work and live alongside the nationals of the country in which they are stationed--doing the same work, eating the same food, talking the same language. But if the life will not be easy, it will be rich and satisfying. For every young American who participates in the Peace Corps--who works in a foreign land--will know that he or she is sharing in the great common task of bringing to man that decent way of life which is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace. "
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When the National Call to Service legislation was amended to include Peace Corps in December of 2002, this country had not yet invaded Iraq and was not in prolonged military engagement in the Middle East, as it is now. Read the story of how one volunteer spent three years in captivity from 1976 to 1980 as the hostage of a insurrection group in Colombia in Joanne Marie Roll's op-ed on why this legislation may put soldier/PCVs in the same kind of danger. Latest: Read the ongoing dialog on the subject.
Friends of the Peace Corps 170,000 strong
170,000 is a very special number for the RPCV community - it's the number of Volunteers who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961. It's also a number that is very special to us because March is the first month since our founding in January, 2001 that our readership has exceeded 170,000. And while we know that not everyone who comes to this site is an RPCV, they are all "Friends of the Peace Corps." Thanks everybody for making PCOL your source of news for the Returned Volunteer community.
|By Safety (ca03-ch03-bl05.ca-sanfranc0.sa.earthlink.net - 126.96.36.199) on Friday, March 24, 2006 - 1:34 am: Edit Post|
Now you are worried. What about the volunteers you separated wrongfully and then ruined careers when they spoke out about safety at their sites during the early 1990's and into today. Where is the Peace Corps for the people who served them and directly had encounters with foriegn Militants opposed to the US in their area?
33 Volunteers killed, died or are missing. 2500 plus volunteers have reported safety related issues since the late 1990's. Where is the Peace Corps for these people? They have been no where. This is why Peace Corps can't open in Bagladesh. Because they bungled safety and security in the past by ruining the people who served them, instead of looking at real safety policy. There will be justice.
|By Syed Abu Bakar Siddique (188.8.131.52) on Thursday, September 07, 2006 - 1:39 am: Edit Post|
Mr Ron Tschetter
Subject: Peace Corps Program in Bangladesh.
Dear Mr Ron Tschetter,
Heartiest congratulation for being selected as the Director of the Peace Corps. May God bless you with enough strength and courage to shoulder the noble responsibilities of PC so as to achieve its desired goals. As a citizen and a social worker of Bangladesh I would like to appeal and submit my humble request to you regarding the Peace Corps Program in Bangladesh.
Peace Corps suspended program in Bangladesh on 15 march 2006. Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced the suspension of the Peace Corps program in Bangladesh on March 15.Might be, his speculation was that the volunteers were not secured in Bangladesh. Probably it was based on anticipation or misinformation. Reality is that the people of Bangladesh love the international especially any volunteers who serve the people. Administration also is keen and provides security measures for the protection of the volunteers as and when required. There was no single incident, regarding any breach of security for any international person including American, in Bangladesh after independence i.e. 1972. More than 280 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Bangladesh since the program opened in November 1998. I was not affiliated with PC but my personal understanding is that opinion of the volunteers, if you ask from them, also will justify that the people of Bangladesh love and act to maintain peace. So called ridiculous terrorists have been captured and are being taken into judicial task for rigorous punishment. Administration could successfully control the unexpected situation regarding law and order of the country. Presently all internationals are working freely.
As I understand, HIV/AIDS is the greatest threat for Bangladesh at present. Bangladesh is passing a crucial time in this regard. But it is possible to prevent the HIV/AIDS in Bangladesh by undertaking a formidable awareness campaign. In this regard Peace Corps, under your leadership, can help Bangladesh to prevent such deadly disease HIV/AIDS. "Watch Bangladesh" is an NGO working in Bangladesh to serve the people.I am the founder Chairman and the Executive Director of this NGO. Watch Bangladesh is ready to extend all-out cooperation to support PC program in this regard.
If you consider Bangladesh in your PC future programs and restart PC program ASP to prevent HIV/AIDS, I will be ever grateful to you and your PC on behalf of 150 million peace loving people of Bangladesh. It is my personal /humble effort for your necessary consideration for the disadvantaged humanity and waiting for your kind reply.Wish you all the best.
With profound regards.
Syed Abu Bakar Siddique
Flat# 302,138 Gulshan Avenue,Gulshan 2
Cell # 880-2-1720101945
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