Bangladesh Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

There are a wide range of grave human rights issues in Bangladesh.

The Government of Bangladesh is responsible for multiple human rights violations, including unlawful killings and disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, and torture. Some of these have been in response to attacks by armed groups claiming to act in the name of Islam. Disappearances occur at an alarming rate, often of supporters of opposition parties such as Bangladesh National Party and Jamaat-e-Islami. Unlawful arrests occur frequently, as does torture in security force custody. Rights to freedom of speech and assembly are under assault, as the Government applies repressive laws and presses arbitrary criminal charges against journalists who publish criticism of the government. Other media and civil society activists also report threats and intimidation.

Armed groups have attacked and killed dozens of secular activists, LGBTI people, and foreign nationals. Among these groups are Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Ansar el Islam, which respectively claimed allegiance to Islamic State and al-Qaeda. A number of secular activists and bloggers have been hacked to death in targeted killings.

Government restrictions remain in place on access to the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The right to freedom of expression of journalists and human rights organizations are curtailed. Women and girls in the area face multiple forms of discrimination and violence.

The death penalty remains in effect. The International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a Bangladeshi court established to investigate the genocide and war crimes that occurred in the 1971 independence war, has convicted a number of people of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and several have been executed. Although horrendous abuses were committed during the 1971 war, UN human rights experts have expressed concern about irregularities and the fairness of the ICT trials.

Violence against women and girls is a serious problem, including rape, dowry-related violence, acid attacks, and domestic violence. In addition, Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Poor implementation of laws and ineffective investigations help lead to a culture of impunity and a continued high rate of violence and discrimination.

An acute humanitarian crisis began in August 2017 when more than 655,000 of Myanmar’s mainly Muslim Rohingya fled to Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district to escape violence inflicted by the Myanmar military in northern Rakhine State. Newly arrived Rohingya live in difficult conditions and are not permitted to leave the camps.

Bangladesh Newsroom

September 15, 2020 • Press Release

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh must participate in decisions affecting their lives

Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh must be given the right to participate in decisions affecting their lives and speak for themselves, Amnesty International said today in a new briefing. The briefing, …

April 7, 2020 • Press Release

COVID-19 Response Flaws Put Older Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh in Imminent Danger

Older Rohingya refugees in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh are being left behind in the humanitarian response to COVID-19, which could have devastating consequences given the high risks older people everywhere face from this deadly pandemic, Amnesty International said today.

March 26, 2020 • Press Release

As COVID-19 spreads in South Asia, fears rise for people at higher risk

As cases of COVID-19 escalate in South Asia, one of the world’s poorest and most populous regions, Amnesty International calls on the authorities there to put human rights at the …

August 29, 2019 • Report

Bangladeshi Parents Fear for Lost Generation of Rohingya Children

Two years after a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign forced around 700,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar for Bangladesh, refugees are still trapped in unbearable conditions in overcrowded camps, Amnesty International said in a new briefing.

August 22, 2019 • Press Release

Two Years since Rohingya Exodus, Impunity Reigns Supreme for Military

With the threat of returns to Myanmar once again looming over Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, Amnesty International warned that Rakhine State remains unsafe while those responsible for atrocities continue to evade justice.

June 17, 2019 • Report

“Fleeing my whole life”: Older people’s experience of conflict and displacement in Myanmar

Tens of thousands of older women and men from ethnic minorities across Myanmar who faced military atrocities and were forced to flee their homes are being let down by a humanitarian system …

November 14, 2018 • Press Release

Myanmar: Rohingya returns plan puts thousands at risk

Bangladesh and Myanmar authorities must immediately halt plans to send Rohingya refugees back to Rakhine State, Amnesty International said today.

August 6, 2018 • Press Release

Bangladesh: Release photographer and end violent crackdown on student protests

The Bangladeshi authorities must immediately and unconditionally release Shahidul Alam, a well-known photographer and activist, who was detained by plainclothes policemen on 5 August 2018 after giving an interview to Al-Jazeera English on the current wave of student protests in Dhaka, Amnesty International said today.

April 5, 2018 • Press Release

Bangladesh: Rohingya refugees returns must be safe, voluntary and dignified

Amnesty International called on the government of Bangladesh to uphold its commitment that Rohingya refugees are only returned in conditions that are safe, voluntary and dignified. In a meeting with …

March 12, 2018 • Press Release

Bangladesh: International support for Rohingya refugees is urgently needed

Responding to the news that UN officials have called for nearly $1bn (USD) in assistance for the nearly one million Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said:

URGENT: Children seeking asylum in the U.S. are being denied their human rights based on their nationality — help ensure that all girls and boys fleeing violence can seek safety.