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Bangladesh

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

Authorities targeted members of opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party, and arrested dozens of Rohingyas fleeing refugee camp on flood-prone island. Rohingya refugees continued to seek to escape refugee camp on flood-prone Bhasan Char island; notably, police 8-9 Sept arrested 28 Rohingyas who had fled in Chittagong’s Sitakunda sub-district and Mirsarai area. Addressing virtual meeting on Rohingya crisis held under Bangladesh’s auspices and co-sponsored among others by EU and Organisation of Islamic Conference that called for “urgent” global efforts to repatriate Rohingyas from Bangladesh, PM Sheikh Hasina 23 Sept warned that failure to repatriate would “jeopardise our collective security” since alienated refugees are “easy prey to extremist ideologies”. Unknown assailants 29 Sept killed prominent Rohingya Muslim leader Mohib Ullah. Authorities arrested dozens of members of Jamaat-e-Islami, police 6 Sept detained around 12 Jamaat-e-Islami leaders on charges of conspiring to commit sedition in capital Dhaka; 10 Sept arrested ten female Jamaat-e-Islami leaders and activists in Satkhira district; 12 Sept detained three members of group’s student wing in Rajshahi district. Court 12 Sept accepted charges lodged by paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) against cartoonist and six others for anti-govt activities on social media. Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit same day opened investigations into bank accounts of 11 senior journalists; journalist union 17 Sept called investigations “unprecedented and ill-motivated”. Authorities continued to arrest suspected militants: notably, RAB 4 Sept arrested four suspected Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) militants in Mymensingh district; 9 Sept arrested alleged JMB leader in Dhaka. Counter-terrorism police 16 Sept detained two suspected Ansar al-Islam militants in Mymensingh district; and next day claimed to have arrested two Ansar al-Islam members in Mymensingh district. Police 10 Sept arrested around 45 members of Tablighi Jamaat, Sunni Islamic missionary movement, from mosques in Dinajpur district, accusing them of planning to carry out sabotage; denying charge, mosque leaders said that Tablighi Jamaat members had come from Dhaka for religious assembly.

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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.