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

Deteriorated Situation

Govt intensified repression ahead of Jan 2024 elections as opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) held large rally in capital Dhaka, leading to clashes that killed several civilians and police officer.

BNP held large-scale rally in defiance of govt crackdown. As party sought to mobilise supporters ahead of Jan 2024 elections, BNP 28 Oct held “grand rally” in Dhaka to build momentum for demanding caretaker govt ahead of Jan 2024 polls, with estimated 200,000 BNP supporters in attendance despite efforts to stop them gathering. Sporadic clashes, mainly between BNP supporters and police, prompted police to break up rally, firing rubber bullets and tear gas. Street fighting subsequently erupted across city, leaving one police officer and one civilian dead, and hundreds more injured. Violence was also reported in other major cities, with several civilians killed and scores injured. Awami League govt 29 Oct arrested de facto BNP leader and around 100 others, including senior officials, charging them with police officer’s murder; BNP claimed nearly 3,000 party officials were arrested 21-29 Oct. BNP and other opposition forces announced nationwide “hartal”, shutting down streets across Dhaka on 29 Oct, and three-day shutdown 31 Oct-2 Nov, making further clashes likely.

Financial strains persisted. Media 18 Oct reported Central Bank’s net foreign exchange reserves fell to below $17bn, equivalent to around three months of imports, and are declining by as much as $1bn per month. Govt 19 Oct reached staff-level agreement with International Monetary Fund (IMF) to proceed with disbursement of additional $681mn (still subject to IMF board approval).

Violence continued in Rohingya refugee camps. Paramilitary Rapid Action Battalion 2 Oct detained “financial coordinator and personal assistant” of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) chief. Gunfight with armed group 4 Oct killed member of ARSA. Suspected member of rival Rohingya Solidarity Organisation 9 Oct killed two ARSA members. Paramilitary forces 5 Oct arrested local council member in Cox’s Bazar for allegedly trafficking drugs from Myanmar and 15 Oct arrested alleged ARSA member for suspected murder of Rohingya leader in Sept 2021. Meanwhile, UN High Commissioner for Refugees 17 Oct requested more funding for Rohingya response to avert looming disaster.

Continue reading

In The News

10 Nov 2022
You might ask ‘why would the military be interested in negotiating to take them [Rohingya refugees] back when it was the one that forced them to leave for the military re... The New Humanitarian

Thomas Kean

Senior Consultant, Myanmar & Bangladesh
28 Des 2019
Les autorités [Birmanes] ont donc pris des mesures qui touchent à la liberté de mouvement. Les réfugiés n’ont plus le droit de sortir des camps et les autorités ont coupé... RFI

Pierre Prakash

Program Director, Asia

Latest Updates

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.