Bangladesh developed its first National Action Plan (NAP) in 2018 to be implemented for the period of 2019-2022. The NAP was developed over the course of two years through a participatory approach that included civil society organizations as well as divisional and district-level consultations with grassroots women’s organizations. Bangladesh’s action plan 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. The NAP’s three overarching objectives, which are grouped under prevention, participation, and protection, relief, and recovery, reflect the pillars of UNSCR 1325.
The NAP highlights Bangladesh’s pivotal role in initiating the creation of UNSCR 1325 (2000), the first resolution of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Agenda, and underscores the country’s ongoing commitment to advancing gender equality at the national and international level. 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 WPS Agenda, addressed extensively as part of the NAP development process. The NAP also 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.
Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan after the Bangladesh Liberation War, which took place in 1971. The conflict resulted in thousands of casualties as well as the mass rape of Bangladeshi women by Pakistani soldiers. 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.
In 2018, Bangladesh’s military spending increased by 8.3 percent, with a total of $3.8 billion spent on military expenses. Bangladesh is the second top contributor to UN Peacekeeping Operations, with a total of 6,417 personnel serving in missions as of October 2019. Bangladesh has signed, but not ratified, the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which regulates the flow of weapons across international borders.