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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

Tensions between ruling Awami League Party and opposition persisted, authorities continued arrests of suspected jihadist militants, and fires again affected Rohingya refugee camp. Police 6 April arrested opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leader Ishraque Hossain while he was protesting price hikes in capital Dhaka, for alleged role in Nov 2020 arson attack in Dhaka; BNP Sec Gen Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir 9 April called Hossain’s arrest part of ruling Awami League (AL) Party’s “new game” of “arresting opposition leaders and activists in false cases” ahead of general elections due to take place in Dec 2023. BNP 14 April said U.S state dept’s 2021 report on govt’s human rights practices published 12 April had exposed Awami League govt’s “deadly misrule”, including sentencing and imprisoning BNP chief Khaleda Zia on political grounds, subverting judicial independence and involving security forces in “killings, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings”; FM Abdul Momen previous day rejected report’s findings, stating it was based on “misinformation” from “anti-government propaganda” machines. Meanwhile, authorities 22 April arrested Jamaat-e-Islami leader in Rajshahi district, accused of terrorist activities and conspiring against state; authorities previous day arrested three other Jamaat leaders in Barguna district for allegedly “planning sabotage”. Dhaka court 13 April sentenced four Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militants to death for 2014 attack of liberal Dhaka University professor. Paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) 14 April arrested Harakat-ul-Jihad al-Islami fugitive in Kishoreganj district, who had been sentenced to death in 2014 for attack on Hindu festival in 2001 and 2004 grenade attack that threatened PM Hasina. RAB 25 April arrested suspected Ansar Al-Islam militant in Narail district. FM Abdul Momen 4 April met with U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken in Washington DC and called on U.S. to encourage BNP to take part in election process; Momen same day told reporters removal of U.S. sanctions on RAB would take time because U.S. administration process requires clearances from “23 committees” before sanctions can be lifted. In third such incident in four months, fire 4 April broke out in Cox’s Bazar’s Camp 17, which is part of conglomeration of camps hosting over 600,000 Rohingya refugees, destroying school.

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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


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.