The political tension in Bangladesh is escalating following the disappearance of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) opposition leader Ilias Ali.
GHRD visited Dhaka in April at the start of the nationwide strikes (hartals) and observed some of the protests that so far have left hundreds injured, some of them journalists, and several killed in clashes between demonstrators and law enforcing agencies.
GHRD met with a range of local groups, journalists, advocates and civil society leaders, as well as representatives of the European member states, to hear their priorities in light of the current political situation and the elections in 2013. Minority representatives as well as members of larger human rights organisations expressed their concern that minorities once again will become targeted in an increasingly violent election campaign, remembering the horrors of 2001, when BNP and its fundamentalist alliances, including the Jamaat–e-Islami, last got to power. “I want to migrate if BNP win[s] the next elections”, says one young lawyer Hindu woman.