Rohingya refugee crisis: impact on Bangladeshi politics

Question

How does the influx of Rohingya into Bangladesh affect Bangladeshi politics and the potential for local or regional tensions and conflict?

Summary

The huge Rohingya refugee influx into Bangladesh is seen in the literature as likely to strengthen the position of the Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Awami League party. However, there are concerns that it will lead to further authoritarianism in the country, as well as fuel extremist sentiment. The Bangladeshi public are generally supportive of the government’s stance of allowing refugees in, but again there are concerns about the longer-term impact, particularly in the Cox’s Bazaar area. The literature highlights the fact that radical Islamist movements, notably Hefazat-e-Islam, are gaining from the crisis, and the potential for Rohingya refugees to be recruited by extremists/jihadists. There are also worries that the Rohingya crisis could fuel militancy in other countries in the region. In terms of regional relations, aside from the expected heightened tension between Bangladesh and Myanmar, the crisis is leading to a rift between Dhaka and New Delhi. China is seen as seeking to exploit the crisis to strengthen relations with Myanmar as well as Beijing’s own position in the region.

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Suggested citation

Idris, I. (2017). Rohingya crisis: impact on Bangladeshi politics. K4D Helpdesk Report 233. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.