On counter-terrorism

 

Anti-Terrorism Act

Bangladesh enacted its specialised counter-terrorism legislation, the Anti-Terrorism Act, in 2009. The law was amended in 2013. The law provides for punishments for terrorism and subversive activities. It outlaws the receipt and collection of money, services or support for a terrorist entity.

Anti-Terrorism Rules

Bangladesh enacted its detailed anti-terrorism guidelines, the Anti-Terrorism Rules, in 2013. This lists procedures for combating money laundering and terrorist financing. The procedures also cover account- and asset-freezing for entities supporting terror groups.

Money Laundering Prevention Act

Bangladesh enacted its prime anti-terror-financing law, the Money Laundering Prevention Act, in 2012. This strengthens the existing legal framework to counter terrorist financing and money laundering through banking and non-banking channels. This law was consolidated by the Money Laundering Prevention Rules in 2019.

Committee on Militancy Resistance and Prevention

In 2009, Bangladesh formed a specialised anti-radicalisation working group, the Committee on Militancy Resistance and Prevention. This is a 17-member group tasked with tackling religious extremism and generating public awareness. The committee, along with the country’s Religious Affairs Ministry, runs nationwide de-radicalisation campaigns.

Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal

Bangladesh formed the fast-track Anti-Terrorism Special Tribunal in 2018. Its job is to deliver speedy and fair trials for offences under Bangladesh’s main anti-terror law, the Anti-Terrorism Act. The time limit for the hearing of a case is six months.

Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime unit

Bangladesh’s police created a technically equipped terror-combatting branch, the Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime (CTTC) unit, in 2015. This is an elite unit that recruits high-performing police officers. The unit is charged with intel-led policing as well as the professional investigation of terrorist incidents, cybercrime and transnational crimes.

Financial Intelligence Unit

Bangladesh formed its specialised illicit transaction tracking agency, the Financial Intelligence Unit, in 2002. It was reformed in 2021. It is housed at Bangladesh’s central bank. The Unit investigates money laundering, suspicious transactions and cash transaction reports. It also creates awareness on finance-related offences among regulators and the public.

 

On crimes against humanity

 

International Crimes Act

Bangladesh enacted the International Crimes Act to deal with war crimes and crimes against humanity in 1973, right after the country’s independence. The law was meant to bring persons committing genocide and war crimes to justice. Its aim was to try those who had committed heinous crimes during Bangladesh’s liberation war in 1971. It was aligned with international law. The law was amended in 2009 and 2013 to match new international standards.

Under this law, a tribunal was formed with the authority to try any individual or group of any profession or nationality. Bangladesh also established an agency to investigate war crimes as specified in the International Crimes Act.

Resolution for ‘Genocide Day’

In 2017, Bangladesh’s parliament passed a symbolic resolution to mark 25 March as ‘Genocide Day.’ It was on this day in 1971 that the Pakistani army launched its brutal war crimes campaign on Bengalis.

Accession to the UN Genocide Convention

Bangladesh acceded to the UN Genocide Convention in 1998.

Foreign Ministry

Bangladesh’s Foreign Ministry, as well as the Parliamentary Committee dedicated to it, is tasked with campaigning for international recognition of the genocide committed by the Pakistani army in Bangladesh in 1971.

Liberation War Affairs Ministry

Bangladesh established a dedicated ministry to deal with issues related to the 1971 war, the Liberation War Affairs Ministry, in 2001. This is also tasked with preserving the history of the 1971 war. It identifies and provides safety net benefits to Bangladeshis who fought to liberate the country. The ministry campaigns for international and UN recognition of the genocide committed by the Pakistani army in Bangladesh in 1971.

 

On special provisions for ethnic communities

 

Policy on Small Ethnic Communities

Bangladesh formulated its Policy on Small Ethnic Communities in 2012. The is designed to improve the socioeconomic conditions of people from minority ethnic communities.  It focuses on community education, income generation and culture preservation.

Development Assistance for Special Areas

Bangladesh initiated a community empowerment project targeting ethnic minority communities, called Development Assistance for Special Areas, in 1996. This targets small ethnic communities living on the plains land of the country, meaning it excludes the south-eastern hill region. The reason for targeting the plains communities is that these communities are very marginalised. Under the initiative, the beneficiaries receive livelihood support such as cash grants.

Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Ministry

Bangladesh established its Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Ministry in 1998. This is Bangladesh’s only region-specific ministry, dedicated to the south-eastern hilly region of the country. It was established to oversee the special needs of the indigenous ethnic people who make up the majority population in the region. It is also tasked with implementing the peace deal that ended decades-long armed conflict in the area.

 

On health protection

 

Health Policy

Bangladesh formulated its first Health Policy in 2000. A revised policy was crafted in 2011. The policy acknowledges health care as a right and acts as an inter-sectoral document covering health, nutrition and population-related services. Its core pillars are health for all and strengthened emergency response. The policy identifies public health indicators such as life expectancy, infant mortality and immunisation outreach as areas for investment.

Directorate General of Health Services

Bangladesh’s most empowered health sector agency is the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). This is housed at the country’s Health Ministry. Implementing wide-ranging health services and programmes is its key responsibility. Additionally, DGHS offers technical assistance to the rest of the ministry.

Community clinics

Community clinics are public health centres that offer primary health care to people at the grassroots. This initiative was launched in 1998. It functions under a public–private partnership model. It is estimated that an average of 40 patients visit each clinic every day, 95% of them women and children. Maternal health care, reproductive health, family planning and diagnosis of non-communicable diseases are the main services in the community clinics.

 

On trade and power

 

Energy Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Energy Policy in 1996. The main objective of this was to provide energy for sustainable economic growth. The policy covered the survey, exploration, distribution, production and transmission of exploration. It was updated in 2004.

Renewable Energy Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Renewable Energy Policy in 2008. This harnesses the potential of renewable energy resources and the dissemination of renewable technologies in both rural and urban areas. It incentivises investment in the renewable energy sector. It is designed to scale up the contribution of renewable energy in electricity production.

 

On small businesses

 

Small and Medium Enterprise Policy

Bangladesh formulated its Small Medium Enterprise (SME) Policy in 2019. This identifies SMEs as a core driver of the economy. The 7.8 million mapped SMEs across the country contribute 25% of gross domestic product. The main target is to link them with finance, technology and markets. The strategic objectives include introducing a guarantee fund, providing soft condition loans, assisting start-ups and promoting environmentally friendly SME industries.

Small and Medium Enterprise Foundation

The Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Foundation is a government-established non-profit for SME development in Bangladesh. It is licensed by Bangladesh’s Ministry of Commerce. It implements SME policy strategies adopted by the government. It also has an advocacy arm. It facilitates financial support for SMEs and provides capacity development training. At the core of its mission is poverty eradication.

Competition Commission

Bangladesh established its business competitiveness agency, the Competition Commission, in 2016. Its job is to enable increased investment by reducing unequal competition. Its goal is to ensure consumer interests and best market practice.

Competition Act

Bangladesh enacted its Competition Act in 2012. The law regulates anti-competitive activities, such as oligopoly formation, by businesses.

 

Photo ©️ Mahmud Hossain Opu & Emdadul Hoque Topu