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Bangladesh

Acute political polarisation in Bangladesh has caused recurrent violent flare-ups, governance breakdowns, and widened social divisions. Furthermore, an increase in jihadist violence is exacerbating Bangladesh’s problems. Years of political deadlock between the two main parties, the Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), have facilitated the rise of extremist groups, the narrowing of political debate, and the erosion of the rule of law. Crisis Group aims to reduce conflict risks arising from political stagnation. We work to improve the conditions for inclusive, accountable, and democratic political institutions in order to reduce the spread of militancy and radicalisation.

CrisisWatch Bangladesh

Unchanged Situation

Tensions continued over Dec general election results, with fears political violence could worsen amid planned local elections 10-18 March. Some 74 defeated candidates from Dec election – 66 of them from main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) – challenged results before High Court’s electoral tribunal 14 Feb, alleging widespread electoral rigging including with intimidation and ballot box stuffing; with eight successful candidates from BNP-led opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front (United National Front) refusing to take parliamentary oath in protest, PM Hasina 12 Feb rejected allegations and called boycott “politically wrong”. BNP late Jan announced it would boycott March local elections, prompting concern over potential for increased violence between govt and opposition supporters. International concern over credibility of elections continued. Hundreds of religious hardliners 12 Feb protested planned religious convention of minority Ahmadiya sect in north and attacked Ahmadiyas, injuring seven. Intense fighting in Myanmar’s southern Chin State between military and Arakan Army caused several hundred to flee across border to Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts, prompting Dhaka to send strongly worded letter to Myanmar 5 Feb expressing concern over security situation, possible new exodus, and impact on stability of area with long history of tensions between different communities (see Myanmar). Bangladesh FM told UN Security Council 28 Feb that it cannot accommodate any more refugees from Myanmar.

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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
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.