BANGLADESH: A tense security climate going into 2024

BANGLADESH: A tense security climate going into 2024

Over the past week, several people were killed in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, in clashes between police and garment workers over pay conditions. In response to protests, the government enforced a 56% wage increase for industry workers setting the minimum wage at approximately USD 115 per month starting from 1 December.

Despite the concession, thousands of workers producing apparel for major Western brands, remain unsatisfied and insist on the initial request of a 150% raise. Union leaders argue that growing fuel, power, and food prices have contributed to a rising cost of living for workers, which makes living a healthy life impossible.

In order to suppress dissent, law enforcement used tear gas to disperse demonstrators who breached factory gates and caused temporary closures. Additionally, protesters obstructed highways and railroads connecting Dhaka to the rest of the country.

It is important to consider that the garment industry comprises over 80% of Bangladesh's annual exports, valued at approximately USD 55 billion, and has been instrumental in the country's economic expansion.

Crucially, general elections are set to take place in Bangladesh in January 2024, and the once-touted economic success story for the current Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, which was supposed to be the driving narrative of the electoral campaign, is encountering increasing challenges.

A tense security climate is anticipated leading up to the elections and potentially afterwards, depending on the results. In addition, protests against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza are taking place on a regular basis in Dhaka and major cities in Bangladesh, with the participants, some of them members of local Islamist parties, engaging in violent acts such as burning Israeli flags.

Travellers to Bangladesh are advised to promptly conduct and update security assessments and implement appropriate measures. International companies with interests in the country are advised to audit their supply chains and implement resilience measures.


Do you find this article interesting? Share it on social networks
Design and development by TECNASOFT