Bangladesh adopted its first National Action Plan (NAP) for the period 2019-2022. The NAP was developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through a participatory approach that included civil society organizations as well as divisional and district-level consultations with grassroots women’s organizations. Bangladesh’s NAP builds on the country’s prior gender legislation and action plans, including those on preventing violence against women and children; human trafficking; development; and disaster policy. In line with this background, the NAP provides an overview of Bangladesh’s WPS-related legal and political actions as well as a detailed discussion of women’s experiences and needs related to the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, addressed extensively as part of the NAP development process. The NAP identifies nine overall objectives grouped under three thematic clusters that focus on prevention; participation; and protection, relief, and recovery. The NAP indicates that the remnants of Bangladesh’s Liberation War and the wartime sexual violence endured by women had an impact on the content of the action plan, especially with regards to the rehabilitation of women victims. Additionally, one of the key objectives of the NAP highlights root cause analysis and gender-responsive conflict monitoring as key to conflict prevention. While the NAP has a detailed implementation matrix, it does not include an allocated budget.
Bangladesh gained independence in 1971 following the Indo-Pakistani War, also known as the Bangladesh Liberation War. The conflict resulted in thousands of casualties, with sexual violence used as a weapon of war through the mass rape of Bangladeshi women. In 2010, Bangladesh’s Awami League (AL) government established the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT), a domestic court charged with investigating the genocide and war crimes that occurred during the 1971 war. However, the court is yet to fully address wartime sexual and gender-based violence.
More recently, in 1997, Bangladesh signed the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord in order to end the long-lasting ethnic conflict between the Bangladeshi government and its indigenous populations. Since 2017, Bangladesh has also been grappling with the spillover effects of Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya people, and currently hosts over 700,000 Rohingya refugees, most of whom are women and girls.
Women’s rights activists in Bangladesh have been working to reduce violence against women, including acid attacks, which is among the primary forms of gender-based violence in the country.
At the multilateral level, Bangladesh most recently served as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2000-2001, during which it played a key role in the adoption of Resolution 1325, the landmark resolution of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda.