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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 continued to run high following anti-India unrest in March, as authorities arrested dozens of protest leaders and activists; election-related violence persisted. Following last month’s deadly protests by Islamist groups and student activists against Indian PM Modi’s visit, PM Hasina 4 April said Hefazat-e-Islam is disgrace to name of Islam and blamed oppositionBangladesh Nationalist Party and Jamaat-e-Islami for inciting violence. Further clashes between police and Hefazat-e-Islam supporters 2 April left at least 20 injured, including several police officers. Since last month’s protests, authorities arrested over 100 Hefazat leaders and activists, including Joint Secretary General Mamunul Haque on 17 April in capital Dhaka. Hefazat-e-Islam Acting Amir Januyed Babunagri 2 and 19 April asked govt to stop harassing and arresting Hefazat leaders. Violent clashes between Awami League factions over upcoming municipality elections persisted: clashes 1, 8 and 14 April left two killed and at least 24 injured in Pabna, Kustia and Madaripur districts. Meanwhile, govt continued to use Digital Security Act to stifle critics. Teenager 1 April faced court after govt supporter filed charges against him for making video mocking PM Hasina and Modi; ruling Awami League leader 18 April lodged case against civil society activist. Counter-terrorism police in Dhaka 10 April arrested Rezaul Haque, acting amir of banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen. International concerns over relocation of Rohingya refugees continued. Fire at market near Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar district 2 April killed three and destroyed at least 20 shops. Diplomats from EU, U.S., UK and others 3 April visited Bhasan Char, low-lying flood-prone island in Bay of Bengal, to assess facilities for Rohingya refugees. Following March visit to inspect safety, UN 16 April urged govt to move refugees in “gradual and phased manner”. FM Momen same day told reporters he would demand 10% of funds raised by humanitarian agencies for Rohingyas in Bangladesh if they refused to provide services to refugees in Bhasan Char.

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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.