Autore: Silvia Tieri
In: Asia Maior. XXXI/2020

In 2019-2020, the Awami League maintained its grasp on power by resorting to repressive measures. Political dissent was silenced through both legal and extrajudicial means. Poor civil rights protection confirmed that negative trends already emerged in previous years worsened further, as the country continued losing its democratic features. Bangladeshi economy kept growing, but in 2020 the pandemic affected its current and projected growth rate, and the unemployment and inequality indexes. It also prompted the Government to adopt emergency policies for economic relief. Furthermore, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the country was struck by catastrophic cyclone Amphan and monsoon floods. These added to the damages caused in 2019 by seasonal floods and cyclones Fani and Bulbul. All such events highlighted the vulnerability of Bangladesh’s economic growth, human security, and socio-economic equality to external shocks and climate change. Reducing gender violence proved challenging. However, the country proceeded towards its Least Developed Country (LDC) graduation targets. China remained Bangladesh’s main partner in the fields of infrastructure, trade, and defence. Relations with India were intense but marred by old and new issues, including border killings, water sharing, and India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Remarkably, Pakistan signalled its intention to revive relations with Dhaka. Lastly, while Bangladesh deserved commendation for it continued hosting one million Rohingya refugees with tremendous efforts, it also pursued their controversial relocation from Cox’s Bazar to Bashan Char. Relations with Myanmar deteriorated as attempts to repatriate the refugees to Rakhine failed, favouring China’s and the Organization of Islamic Conference’s (OIC) involvement in the crisis.

Keywords – Bangladesh; development; disaster; freedom; gender violence; Hasina; human rights; LDC graduation; Mujib Borsho; Rohingya.

Silvia Tieri | King’s College London |