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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

Amid ongoing govt crackdown on critics, security operations continued against alleged members of banned militant groups. Police continued to detain people under controversial Digital Security Act in cases mainly filed by ruling Awami League (AL) supporters: police 3 July arrested member of AL student wing for criticising AL lawmaker in Facebook post in Manikganj district; 19 July arrested three, including two teachers, at Farakkabad college in Chandpur district for defaming govt ministers through fake social media account. In continued anti-militancy efforts, security forces 9 July arrested suspected Hizb ut-Tahrir member in Khulna district and next day arrested alleged Ansarullah Bangla Team militant in capital Dhaka; police 17 July arrested woman in Dhaka for alleged involvement in women’s wing of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), including fundraising and recruitment; paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion 19 July arrested six suspected members of JMB in Savar district near Dhaka; 24 July three alleged Allahr Dal members in Dinajpur district; and 27 July, five suspected Ansarul Islam militants in  Dhaka’s Dhamrai region. Explosion at Pallabi police station in Dhaka injured at least four police officers and one civilian 29 July, with police claiming they later defused two further explosives; Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility but police 30 July declared claim “false”. Govt faced rising COVID-19 cases bringing total to 237,000 on 31 July, making Bangladesh 17th worst coronavirus-hit country globally. In north, mass flooding, which began late June in Jamalpur, Kurigram, Gaibandha and other districts, affected 1.5mn people, killing dozens and submerging thousands of villages. NGO Human Rights Watch 9 July urged govt to move 300 Rohingya refugees from Bhashan Char island in Bay of Bengal amid longstanding concerns that island is prone to flooding and lacks services.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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

Former Senior Analyst and Regional Editor, South Asia

Latest Updates

Op-Ed / Asia

Rohingya Deserve Non-violent Leadership

Originally published in Asia Times

Report / Asia

The Long Haul Ahead for Myanmar’s Rohingya Refugee Crisis

More than 700,000 Rohingya refugees from brutal military operations in Myanmar are stuck in Bangladesh, with returns to Myanmar unlikely soon and Bangladeshi goodwill being tested. In Myanmar, international partners must be allowed access to northern Rakhine State. In Bangladesh, donors must help both refugees and their local hosts.

Also available in Burmese, 简体中文
Commentary / Asia

Myanmar/Bangladesh: A Humanitarian Calamity and a Two-country Crisis

More than one million Muslim Rohingya forced to flee from Myanmar now live in camps in south-eastern Bangladesh. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to increase funding for refugee assistance and use diplomatic leverage to find a compromise on the issue of refugee repatriation.

Report / Asia

Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis Enters a Dangerous New Phase

The mass flight of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s Rakhine State has created a humanitarian catastrophe and serious security risks, including potential cross-border militant attacks. The international community should press the Myanmar government to urgently implement the Annan commission’s proposals, including as regards discrimination, segregation and citizenship.