Years of deadlock between the two main political parties, the Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, have caused governance breakdowns, narrowed political debate, eroded the rule of law and widened social divisions. The continued threat of jihadist violence exacerbates these problems. Meanwhile, Bangladesh struggles to accommodate the presence of an estimated one million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, whose return appears unlikely any time soon. Crisis Group aims to reduce conflict risks, including the spread of militancy, arising from political stagnation; to promote inclusive and accountable democratic institutions; and to urge adequate assistance for the refugees until conditions allow for safe return.

CrisisWatch Bangladesh

Unchanged Situation

Ruling Awami League continued clampdown on opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), while violence persisted in Rohingya refugee camps.

BNP held anti-govt rallies countrywide, leading to violent clashes. Calling for govt to step down and next election to be held under caretaker administration, BNP and allies 11 Feb held rallies in Narayanganj, Sirajganj, Natore, Bogra, Jamalpur, Ghazipur, Barguna and Narsingdi districts, which led to clashes with Awami League supporters that left over 100 BNP leaders and supporters injured; police arrested scores of BNP and opposition Jamaat-e-Islami supporters. Election commissioner 14 Feb announced general election to be held between late Dec and early Jan. BNP sec gen 17 Feb reiterated demands and accused police of torturing and killing opposition activists; earlier, NGO Human Rights Watch 3 Feb had called on authorities to investigate allegations of forced disappearances. Court 20 Feb upheld govt’s late Dec order shutting down BNP newspaper.

Violence in Rohingya camps continued. Assailant 16 Feb shot and injured Rohingya camp leader and armed Rohingya women same day reportedly shot dead woman; shooters 22 Feb targeted another camp leader who died next day. Govt report 15 Feb revealed ten militant and criminal groups active in Rohingya camps and said violent clashes between Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army – dominant group in most camps – and rival Nabi Hossen Dakat Dal often resulted in casualties. As envoys from France, Japan, China and UN agencies visited Bhasan Char camps to monitor living conditions, World Food Programme 17 Feb said it would reduce food assistance to Rohingya refugees from $12 to $10 per person, citing funding shortfall, and warned of “immense and long-lasting” food insecurity repercussions.

Authorities arrested suspected militants. Paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) 7 Feb arrested five militants of Christian-dominated tribal group Kuki-Chin National Front, which is fighting for separate state in some Chittagong Hill Tracts regions, amid reported gunfight in Bandarband district. RAB director next day said 14 members of group, and 43 militants from aligned outfit Jama’atul Ansar Fil Hindal Sharqiya, had been arrested in operation under way since Oct 2022. Authorities 21 Feb arrested Jama’atul Ansar chief in Dhaka.

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In The News

10 Nov 2022
You might ask ‘why would the military be interested in negotiating to take them [Rohingya refugees] back when it was the one that forced them to leave for the military re... The New Humanitarian

Thomas Kean

Senior Consultant, Myanmar & Bangladesh
28 Dec 2019
Les autorités [Birmanes] ont donc pris des mesures qui touchent à la liberté de mouvement. Les réfugiés n’ont plus le droit de sortir des camps et les autorités ont coupé... RFI

Pierre Prakash

Program Director, Asia
16 Dec 2016
These organizations [in Bangladesh] — whether they’re jihadists or student wings of parties like Jamaat-e-Islami — they’re becoming more attractive avenues of opposition. Foreign Policy
Shehryar Fazli

Shehryar Fazli


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