US Senators urge Hasina to treat Yunus with respect

Six influential US Senators have expressed concern over the dismissal of Muhammad Yunus as head of the Grameen Bank that he founded nearly three decades ago.

Updated: Mar 16, 2011, 12:49 PM IST

Washington: Expressing concern over the
dismissal of Muhammad Yunus as head of the pioneering Grameen Bank that he founded nearly three decades ago, six influential US Senators have asked Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
to treat the Nobel laureate with dignity and respect.

"We strongly encourage you to work with Professor Yunus
to find an amicable solution to this unfortunate situation and treat him with the dignity he deserves while preserving the effectiveness and operational integrity of
Grameen Bank for the millions of Bangladeshis who depend on
it, as well as for your nation`s reputation as the home of the
microcredit movement," six Senators wrote in a letter to
Sheikh Hasina.

The letter signed by Senators Richard Durbin, Sherrod
Brown, Michael Bennet, John Boozman, Rush Holt and Michael
Enzi, was sent to Hasina on Monday and released to the press

Writing to express serious concern over the Government of
Bangladesh`s recent dismissal of Yunus as Managing Director of
Grameen Bank, the Senators said with Professor Yunus at the
helm, Grameen Bank has played a leading role in a global
movement to lift millions of the world`s poorest people out of
poverty using the innovative microcredit concept that he

"The bank`s world renowned success in that effort has
helped millions of Bangladeshis rise from poverty and has
brought recognition to Professor Yunus, Grameen Bank, and
Bangladesh," they said.

"We are troubled by what appears to have been a
months-long effort on the part of the Bangladeshi government
to discredit Professor Yunus and remove him as Managing
Director while increasing government influence at Grameen
Bank," the Senators wrote.

"These efforts raise concerns about the government`s motivations and the impact such efforts may have on the strong and important US-Bangladesh relationship.
Additionally, the potential for these actions to have a
destabilising effect on Grameen puts the effectiveness and
long-term integrity of the bank and its critical programs at
great risk," they said.

"Quite simply, it would be very disappointing to see
Bangladesh?s thriving civil society, microfinance sector, and
international reputation negatively affected by actions that
stand to damage the integrity of Grameen Bank," the Senators

Durbin has long supported Dr Yunus and his work at the
Grameen Bank.
Last year, Durbin sponsored a resolution to award Dr
Yunus the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award
in the US.

"Dr Yunus has given hope to millions through his Grameen
Bank. For more than thirty years, his theory of
microenterprise has become a phenomenon touching the lives
of more than 100 million people around the world.

It is hard to think of any single idea in our lifetime
which has lifted so many people out of the deepest depths of
poverty," Durbin said in a statement.