Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  
Front Page

UN declares level 1 warning in Dhaka

The United Nations (UN) has announced a level-1 security warning in Bangladesh for its officials asking them to inform the Dhaka office before making a visit to the country, said UN officials.

The phase-1 security warning has been issued amidst a level-2 warning already imposed for Cox's Bazar since October 28 last year.

UN officials said the latest security warning was issued after a meeting of the UN organisations in Dhaka on Sunday that took stock of the security situation in the country.

"Phase-1 warning means a pre-cautionary measure. Our officials who will come to Bangladesh from outside will have to take prior clearance from a designated officer for UN security in Dhaka," said a senior UN official, preferring anonymity.

"The warning has been issued considering the present security situation prevailing in Bangladesh," said the foreign-origin official.

He said the latest warning will not restrict movement of UN officials who are already in the country, excepting Cox's Bazar where a level-2 warning is on.

A local-origin UN official informed that they have also been asked not to visit any office of the Brac, which became a target of bomb attacks in the last few days.

However, the foreign-origin official denied the directive.

"The decision was taken in the wake of a number of bomb attacks across the country, including on the offices of some NGOs like Brac and Grameen Bank," said another UN official on condition of anonymity.

"The security alert will continue until a further directive is made," he said.

Another official said a level-1 caution is not alarming. "It becomes alarming when the level reaches 3," he told BDNEWS.

About 800 officials, including locals and foreigners, have been working in the UN offices in Bangladesh.

The UN bodies active in the country are UNDP, UNFPA, Who, UNHCR, WFP, Unesco, Fao, ILO, Unicef, UNAIDS, Unep and Unic.

On October 28, the UN announced the level-2 security warning for Cox's Bazar restricting movement of its staff and their family members in the district.

The level-2 alert was clamped after Mehnaz Khan, a field officer of the World Food Program (WFP), was manhandled by Rohingya refugees at Kutupalong camp.