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

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.

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 …

October 17, 2017 • Report

‘My World Is Finished’: Rohingya Targeted in Crimes against Humanity in Myanmar

More than 530,000 Rohingya men, women and children have fled northern Rakhine State in terror in a matter of weeks amid the Myanmar security forces’ targeted campaign of widespread and systematic murder, rape and burning, Amnesty International said today in its most detailed analysis yet of the ongoing crisis. 

December 16, 2016 • Report

“We are at a breaking point”: Rohingya: Persecuted in Myanmar, neglected in Bangladesh

The Myanmar security forces are responsible for unlawful killings, multiple rapes and the burning down of houses and entire villages in a campaign of violence against Rohingya people that may amount to crimes against humanity, Amnesty International reveals in a new report today.

February 18, 2016 • Report

Amnesty International State of the World 2015-2016

International protection of human rights is in danger of unravelling as short-term national self-interest and draconian security crackdowns have led to a wholesale assault on basic freedoms and rights, warned Amnesty International as it launched its annual assessment of human rights around the world. “Your rights are in jeopardy: they are being treated with utter contempt by many governments around the world,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

September 2, 2015 • Report

Use of Force – Guidelines for Implementation of the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by law enforcement officials

From the streets of Ferguson, Missouri to the favelas of Brazil, the police use of force and firearms makes global headlines when it turns fatal.

February 25, 2015 • Report

State of the World 2014/2015

This has been a devastating year for those seeking to stand up for human rights and for those caught up in the suffering of war zones. Governments pay lip service to the importance of protecting civilians. And yet the world's politicians have miserably failed to protect those in greatest need. Amnesty International believes that this can and must finally change.

May 15, 2013 • Report

Annual Report: Bangladesh 2013

People’s Republic of Bangladesh Head of state Zillur Rahman Head of government Sheikh Hasina Some 30 extrajudicial executions were reported. State security forces were implicated in torture and other ill-treatment …

August 23, 2011 • Report

Bangladesh: Government must act now to stop police unlawful killings

Hardly a week goes by in Bangladesh without people being shot in Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) operations. RAB is a special police force, created to combat criminal gang activity. But since its inception in 2004, RAB has been implicated in the unlawful killing of at least 700 people. In this document Amnesty International calls on the authorities to set up an independent and impartial body to thoroughly investigate allegations of RAB abuses.

July 5, 2011 • Report

Annual Report: Bangladesh 2011

Head of state: Zillur Rahman Head of government: Sheikh Hasina Death penalty: retentionist Population: 164.4 million Life expectancy: 66.9 years Under-5 mortality (m/f): 58/56 per 1,000 Adult literacy: 55 per …