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Bangladesh goes backwards in Global Peace Index

Peace hampered in the country because political benevolence is lacking, says academic

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Bangladesh goes backwards in Global Peace Index

A homeless Bangladeshi youth sleeps on the window ledge of a footwear shop in Dhaka on Oct. 2, 2018. (Photo by Munir Uz Zaman/AFP)

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Bangladesh has slipped further down in the latest Global Peace Index published June 13.

The Muslim-majority South Asian nation was ranked 101 out of 163 independent countries and territories in the Global Peace Index 2019 by the Sydney-headquartered Institute for Economics and Peace.

The country was ranked 84th in 2017 and 93rd in 2018.

In South Asia, Bangladesh sits fourth after Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal but was in front of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Analysts say Bangladesh’s declining trend in peace is the result of a lack of social safety and poor governance.

“Save for conflicts, Bangladesh has seen collapses in all spheres of life,” Saifuddin Ahmed, associate professor of peace and conflict studies at Dhaka University, told ucanews.com.

“Social security has nosedived, employment opportunities declined. Health services and education have been extended to more areas, but quality hasn’t improved.”

The country’s economy is controlled by vested interests who make the most out of their investments, while most people are deprived, he said.

There is migration of poor people to cities from rural areas, but these people end up even more neglected, he added.

“We are good in horizontal or infrastructural development but failing constantly on vertical or sustainable development,” Ahmed said.

“At the end of the day, development and peace depend a lot on the government and political benevolence, which is missing in most cases, if not all.” 

Economic and human developments don’t go hand in hand in Bangladesh, noted Holy Cross Father Liton H. Gomes, secretary of the Catholic bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission.

“At individual level, people are unable to get the benefits of economic development. We are still lagging behind in human development when it comes to issues such as quality education, environmental pollution, road accidents and violence against women and children,” Father Gomes told ucanews.com.

An apparent political stability prevails in Bangladesh but true democracy remains elusive, he said.

“We see the muzzling of dissent, gagging of media and suppression of opposition, which are bad for democracy. If we want to move forward, we must ensure we practice true democracy for sustainable development,” the priest added.

The Global Peace Index ranked Iceland as the most peaceful country in the world, a spot it has retained since 2008. It was followed by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria and Denmark.

Afghanistan replaced Syria as the least peaceful country. Syria now sits second followed by South Sudan, Yemen and Iraq.

The index was prepared on the basis of social security, violent protests and crimes, terrorism, domestic and international conflicts among others. It showed peace improved in 84 countries and declined in 79 countries.

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