|People's Republic of Bangladesh|
|Form of government||Parliamentary republic|
|Government system||parliamentary system|
|Head of state||
|Head of government||
|population||164.7 million (2020)|
|Population density||1,116.1 inhabitants per km²|
|Population development||+1.1% (2019) per year|
gross domestic product
|Human Development Index||0.608 ( 136th ) (2017)|
|independence||March 26, 1971 (from Pakistan )|
Amar Shonar Bangla
|National holiday||March 26th ( Independence Day )
December 16th ( Victory Day )
|Time zone||UTC + 6|
|ISO 3166||BD , BGD, 050|
Bangladesh ( Bengali বাংলাদেশ Bāṃlādeś [ˈbaŋlaˌd̪eʃ] ; composition of bangla 'Bengali' and desch 'country') is a state in South Asia . It borders the Gulf of Bengal in the south, Myanmar in the southeast and is also enclosed by the Indian states of Meghalaya , Tripura , West Bengal , Mizoram and Assam . With around 165 million inhabitants (2017) on an area of 147,570 km², it ranks eighth among the largest countries in the world in terms of population and seventh among the countries in terms of population density . In terms of area, however, it ranks 92nd among the medium-sized countries. The capital Dhaka is one of the fastest growing megacities in the world; other megacities are Chittagong and Khulna .
Bangladesh occupies the eastern part of the historical region of Bengal , which became part of the eastern part of Pakistan in 1947 when British India was divided under the name East Pakistan due to the Muslim majority of the population . In 1971, as a result of the Bangladesh War , East Pakistan gained its independence under the name of Bangladesh . The name of a national of the country is Bangladeshi .
The country is naturally shaped by the monsoons , the delta of the rivers Brahmaputra , Ganges and Meghna with their extensive marshland and Sundarbans as well as its location by the sea and the mostly flat lowlands. The combination of these features as well as the globally rising sea level ensure frequent floods and consequential flooding of the densely populated country.
Thanks to an economic upswing, Bangladesh was able to improve its social and economic indicators significantly, but it still ranks among the poorest countries on the Asian continent. Thanks to its growing economy and young population, it is now one of the up-and-coming Next Eleven markets. In 2019, Bangladesh ranked 136th out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index .
Bangladesh borders the Indian states of West Bengal , Assam , Meghalaya , Tripura and Mizoram (clockwise, starting in the west) as well as Myanmar and the Bay of Bengal (part of the Indian Ocean ). The total length of the border is 4246 km, of which 193 km with Myanmar and 4053 km with India. The coastline is 580 km.
Most of Bangladesh is formed by the delta of the Brahmaputra , Ganges and Meghna rivers ; a swamp area crossed by many oxbow lakes, ponds and small islands, which is regularly inundated by river floods during the monsoon season . Around 90 percent of Bangladesh consists of flat lowlands, and the capital Dhaka is only six meters above sea level. Only the southeastern part of the country with the hills and mountains of the Chittagong Hill Tracts deviates from this appearance.
Since the natural tree population was largely decimated in the course of intensive arable farming, only 15 percent of the land is forested. Tropical rainforests exist mainly in the south-eastern hill country, while extensive mangrove vegetation predominates in the catchment area of the river deltas . These areas called Sundarbans (after the up to 25 m high Sundari trees ) are the largest mangrove forests on earth with an area of around 10,000 km². They make up around half of the remaining forest area in the country.
The climate of Bangladesh is tropical with increasing rainfall from west to east. Bangladesh is in the area of influence of the southwest monsoon, so that an average of 1500 to 2250 mm annual rainfall is reached. In the east, at the foot of the Tripura Lushai Mountains, 3000 to 4000 mm fall. There is the Mowdok Mual, the highest point in Bangladesh ( ). More than half of the annual precipitation falls from June to August. In March / April and October there are frequent tropical cyclones over the Bay of Bengal with often catastrophic consequences, since the associated floods inundate large parts of the country. A fifth of the country is inundated annually; in extreme floods it is 35%. The average maximum daily temperature is 25 ° C in January and 35 ° C in April. The rest of the year the temperature is 30 ° C. In Bangladesh there are three distinct seasons: from late May to early October the monsoon season, from mid-October to late February the "cool" season and the "hot" season between March 15 and May 15.
Effects of climate change
Bangladesh is particularly affected by global warming : Due to the geographic conditions - the majority of the country is only slightly higher than sea level - the large population of around 160 million people and the fact that the population only lives on a small area of land lives around 80 percent below the poverty line, there are special challenges to adapt to the consequences of global warming . If the sea level rises by one meter without coastal protection measures, around 18 percent of the entire area of Bangladesh would be inundated, causing around 38 million people to lose their homes and become climate refugees . In the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC from 2013, depending on the underlying scenario, an increase of between 0.26 m and 0.98 m was expected by the year 2100 and a further increase for the following centuries due to long-term effects of greenhouse gas emissions. In the long term, it is assumed that the sea level will rise by around 2.3 m for every additional degree Celsius of warming. The actual sea level rise in the region is 1.06 - 1.75 mm pa.
Due to the rising sea level, an increasing inland salinization of groundwater and arable land can be observed. In addition, around 65 percent of the population live in the river delta, which is often affected by flooding . Due to the increased melting of the Himalayan glaciers and a change in precipitation in the catchment area of the rivers as a result of global warming, the risk of flooding will increase in the future. In the north-west, on the other hand, there would be a decrease in precipitation and more severe drought, which in turn would impair the water supply there. Both soil salinization and changes in the monsoons are expected to reduce crop yields by up to 30 percent by 2050. Since social tensions already exist in the affected area and the climate change-induced migration towards Dhaka and other urban centers is leading to an overload of urban infrastructures, it is also feared that these will develop into open violent conflicts as a result of the deteriorated living conditions as a result of climate change.
From 1977 to 2010, Bangladesh grew by 169 km² net due to changes in the coastline.
Deer, bears, leopards, rhesus monkeys and elephants can be found in the rainforests near Chittagong . A total of about 750 species of birds, 250 species of mammals and 150 different reptiles and amphibians are known in Bangladesh. The country's reptiles include crocodiles, pythons and cobras. In addition, about 250 species of freshwater fish live in the waters of Bangladesh and about 350 species of marine fish live on the coast; Fishermen on the hunt for lobster and shrimp often bring home a large catch, which on the one hand serves as food for the local population and on the other hand is also used for export. Probably the best-known animal of Bangladesh, the Bengal tiger, even Indian or Bengal tiger called. This species of tiger lives in the southeast of Bengal. Male specimens can grow to a length of 3 meters, weigh a quarter ton and reach a shoulder height of one meter. Red and gold fur with black stripes is the hallmark of this tiger, whose belly area is colored white. White Bengal tigers have also been spotted here and there. Bengal tigers eat around nine kilos of meat a day. In Bangladesh, an estimated 670 tigers live in the protected mangrove forest area of the Sundarbans .
|Time period||Fertility rate|
With almost 165 million inhabitants (as of 2020), Bangladesh ranks eighth in the list of national populations and is the most densely populated state in the world with a population density of 1,084.2 people per square kilometer . For a long time, Bangladesh had a high birth rate. Through self-help initiatives of the population, which were supported by development aid organizations, the total fertility rate could be reduced between 1979 and 1999 from 7.0 to 3.3 children per woman. According to United Nations estimates, the total fertility rate in the five-year period between 2015 and 2020 was only around 2.05 children. According to a forecast by the United Nations, the population will grow to over 200 million by 2050 and then begin to stagnate.
Surveys from 1999 showed that the people in Bangladesh, with 3.3 children per woman at the time, had far more children than they actually wanted (on average only 2.3 children). Due to the widespread poverty in Bangladesh , some women did not have access to safe and effective family planning methods.
In 2017 0.9% of the population was born abroad. During the riots against Rohingya in neighboring Myanmar, around 850,000 Rohingya had fled to Bangladesh by the end of 2017. Bangladesh itself is a country of emigration. In 2016, 7.5 million native Bangladeshis lived abroad, mostly in India, the Arab Gulf States, the United States and Europe.
In 2011, 28.4 percent of the population lived in cities. According to World Bank figures, poverty in Bangladesh fell from 48.9% to 24.3% of the population between 2000 and 2018, while extreme poverty fell from 33.7% to 12.9%.
In almost all parts of the country the population density is over 500 inhabitants / km². Only in the districts around Chittagong (except Cox's Bazar ) is it between 75 inhabitants / km² and 500 inhabitants / km². The areas with the highest population density include Narsingdi and Narayanganj with over 2000 inhabitants / km² and the capital Dhaka with more than 7000 inhabitants / km².
In contrast to the other countries in South Asia , Bangladesh is ethnically relatively uniform: Bengali , which is one of the Indo-Aryan languages , is spoken by around 98% of the population as their mother tongue. The Bengali language played a central role in the struggle for independence and, as the country's official language, is still of great importance for national identity today.
English is widely used as an educational language among the middle and upper classes and is used as an administrative and business language - in contrast to neighboring India, however, English has no official status as an official language. A total of 39 different languages and idioms are spoken.
The Bihari (1%) are among the few minorities who came to what was then East Pakistan from Bihar due to religious conflicts as a result of the division of British India when it gained independence . They mostly speak Urdu . There are also two matrilineal minorities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the south-east and north of the country : the Khasi (the Khasi is a Mon-Khmer language ) and the Garo (the Garo is a Tibetan-Burmese language ). Both ethnic groups were separated from their tribal communities in the neighboring Indian state of Meghalaya when the border was drawn in 1972.
The majority of the population, around 90 percent, profess Islam . A large part of them are Sunni , with Shiites in a minority. Islam is the state religion in Bangladesh. A case pending for 28 years to delete this passage from the constitution was rejected by the state's high court in 2016. The Hinduism is nearly nine percent and Buddhism represented less than one percent. In the longer historical overview, the relative proportion of Muslims has continuously increased, while the proportion of Hindus has decreased. According to the official population statistics of 1941, ie in the last census year before the partition of India, 70.3% Muslims and 28.0% Hindus lived in the area of what would later become Bangladesh. After Bangladesh gained independence in 1974, the figure was 85.4 percent Muslim and 13.5 percent Hindu, while in 2011 those numbers were 90.4 and 8.5 percent. The divisions Khulna , Rangpur and Sylhet had the highest proportion of Hindus in all statistical surveys since 1974 (in 2011 between 12.8 and 14.1%). Most of the Buddhists live in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and in 2011 made up around 3 percent of the population in the Chittagong Division.
- Islam as a state religion versus secularism
The first constitution of Bangladesh from 1972 enshrined secularism as one of its basic principles. After the assassination of President Mujibur Rahman in 1975, the military regime (1975–1977) under General Ziaur Rahman replaced the term “secularism” with the passage “Absolute trust and belief in Almighty Allah should be” with the 5th amendment to the constitution issued by presidential decree Be the basis of all actions ”. On June 9, 1988, the Bangladeshi parliament, which was completely under the influence of the military regime of General Ershad , passed the 8th Amendment to the Constitution, in which Islam was declared the state religion of Bangladesh. The addition read: "The state religion is Islam, but other religions can also be practiced in peace and harmony in the republic." The religious minorities in the country and the opposition Awami League protested in vain against this departure from the principle of secularism. These regulations initially remained unaffected after the end of the military government in 1990.
On August 29, 2005, the Bangladesh Supreme Court ruled that the military government was illegal between August 15, 1975 and April 9, 1979. This also annulled the 5th amendment to the constitution, and the secular constitution in the form from 1972 was restored in these sections. Representatives of the two then conservative governing parties, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami, objected to this and went into revision. However, on February 3, 2010, the Appeals Department of the Supreme Court reiterated the previous decision, eliminating the 5th Amendment. The judgment was published on July 28, 2010.
The 8th amendment to the constitution (Islam as the state religion) remained unaffected by this judgment. Critics described it as a contradiction if on the one hand the state defines itself as secular, but on the other hand Islam should be the state religion and also called for the 8th amendment to be repealed. In 2011, the Supreme Court even asked the government to explain why the eighth amendment should continue to exist after the fifth was repealed. In 1988, 15 prominent figures from Bangladesh had brought a constitutional complaint against it. The complaint made no progress for a long time, but was reactivated again after the 2010 ruling. In a brief hearing before the Supreme Court on March 27, 2016, the court dismissed the complaint and confirmed the continued validity of the 8th Amendment.
- Role of Islam in legislation and society, other religions
At the beginning of the 20th century, 33.9 percent of the population were Hindus. Since then this proportion has fallen sharply. Before the partition of India in 1947, 28 percent of the population were Hindu, but then almost four million Hindus fled to India. During the war of independence in 1971, the Pakistani army and the local Islamist militias that supported it, acted particularly brutally against the religious minorities who were collectively accused of supporting the independence movement. Many Hindus were among the at least 500,000 dead (maximum estimates up to 3 million) in the war.
Although Islam does play some role in legislation, there is no formal implementation of Sharia law in Bangladesh . Islamic legal concepts only apply to Muslims. Family law differs somewhat between the individual religions. Male Muslims are allowed to take up to four wives with the written consent of the first wife. This seldom happens in reality, and there is strong social pressure against polygamy . Hindus are only allowed to divorce under certain conditions (involuntary childlessness, abuse, mental illness). Hindu widows are allowed to legally remarry. There are also no legal restrictions on marriages for people of different religions. However, the statutory provisions can only be used if the marriage has been officially registered, which is not an obligation. The many child marriages are criticized. Over 60% of girls are married before they have reached the legal age of 18 years. An amendment to the law in 2017 provides that girls can be married off immediately after their birth.
Members of religious minorities are also represented in the government of Bangladesh (in 2012, 5 out of 51 ministers were non-Muslim: 2 Buddhists, 2 Hindus, 1 Christian). Non-Muslims are also represented in higher administration. However, there are no official statistics that allow a statement to be made about the extent to which these minorities are represented in accordance with their proportion of the population.
The Vested Property Act of the 1960s, which was in force until 2001, allowed the government to expropriate land from "enemies of the country" (in practice these were practically exclusively Hindus). Typically, they were Hindus who had fled to India and whose supposedly ownerless land was confiscated by the state. As a result, 2.6 million acres (10,500 km²) came into government ownership over the years . The affected Hindus tried to take legal action to regain their land. The 2011 Vested Properties Return (Amendment) Bill required the government to publish lists of confiscated land that can be used to claim restitution.
Islamist political parties have received up to 15% of the vote in parliamentary elections in Bangladesh in the past. By far the largest Islamist party is Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), which supported the Pakistani side in the War of Independence and was therefore banned for a few years. Since around 2009, JI leaders have been indicted by a special court established by the Bangladeshi government for their involvement in human rights crimes during the War of Independence, and some have been sentenced to death and long prison terms. This has led to the radicalization of some of the supporters. Militant Islamist groups such as Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh have been active since the late 1990s at the latest , and have carried out bomb attacks on state institutions. The global activities of al-Qaeda and the so-called “ Islamic State ” have also led to increased Islamist activities in Bangladesh. It is controversial to what extent these are copycat acts and how far these two organizations have spread in the country.
Since around 2013, Islamist assassinations of secularists have become an increasing problem that has attracted the attention of the world public. Most of the murder victims were bloggers in social networks , journalists or book authors who had publicly admitted and propagated atheism. The victims were typically ambushed by a group of Islamic extremists and brutally hacked to death with machetes in front of those around them. One of the best-known victims was Avijit Roy (died February 26, 2015). Since around 2015, there have also been increasing attacks on members of religious minorities (Hindus, Christians, Buddhists).
In Bangladesh, the median school attendance for people over the age of 25 increased from 2.8 years in 1990 to 5.2 years in 2015. The country has achieved significant successes in primary education, the school enrollment rate is around 95 percent, even if a large proportion then leave school without a qualification. Despite compulsory schooling, the state is unable to provide an adequate educational infrastructure. There is therefore a large number of private schools and schools run by non-governmental organizations. In addition to mostly Bengali-speaking state schools, there are an increasing number of English-speaking private schools. Bangladesh's public education system follows the British model introduced in England in 1947. There is an official five-year school attendance and attendance at public schools is free. However, many students leave school without a qualification. The number of pupils in secondary school is therefore falling, the proportion of girls in the higher grades is much lower than that of boys. Therefore, for girls from the 6th grade onwards, part of the monthly costs is covered by the state. In 2015, 38.5% of all Bangladeshis over the age of 15 were illiterate. Among women, the rate was 41.5%, among men, 35.4% could not read or write.
The state education system comprises four main levels: the five-year elementary school is followed by the three-year middle school from sixth to eighth grade. Then comes the two-year training at a high school, which is concluded with a Higher Secondary School, HSC exam. Successful completion of the Higher Secondary School entitles you to attend a state college or university . There are over 105 recognized state and private universities in Bangladesh. A bachelor's degree takes four years and a master's degree takes six years. Afterwards there is also the possibility of doing a doctorate. The universities in Bangladesh are heavily politicized. Student riots and violent clashes between students occur regularly, often remotely controlled by the two major parties, the BNP and Awami League, and the religiously oriented Jamaat-e-Islami.
In addition to the state schools, there are thousands of Madaris or Koran schools, which are largely financed by Saudi Arabia. As a rule, they also offer free basic education to children from poor families who would not be able to attend a state educational institution. Their teaching content is only partially under state control.
|Period||Life expectancy in
|Period||Life expectancy in
The average life expectancy at birth between 2010 and 2015 was 71.2 years (men 69.8 years, women 72.9 years). In the mid-1950s, life expectancy was 40 years and has increased by a good 30 years since then. A high proportion of young children (2011: 36.8%) in Bangladesh are underweight. The HIV infection rate is low. Child mortality has been greatly reduced. In 1960, 26 percent of children died before their 5th birthday, compared to 3.4 percent in 2016.
Overall, 84% of the population have access to drinking water (as of 2014). However, only about every second (54%) has access to sanitary facilities (as of 2014). In 2015, 15.1% of the population was malnourished. In 2000 it was still 20.1% of the population.
Regional history up to the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan
Bangladesh formed part of British India until 1947 . After the division of the country into a predominantly Hindu, secular state ( India ) and a Muslim state ( Pakistan ) the division was in the course of Bengal in 1947 which is also predominantly Muslim East Bengal Pakistan (as East Pakistan ) slammed, from which it was separated geographically by India . Despite the common Islamic religion, West Pakistan and East Pakistan were separated by linguistic and cultural differences. The first serious conflict between the two parts of the country occurred when the Pakistani government tried to introduce Urdu as the sole state language. This led to the emergence of the Bengali language movement , which resulted in Bengali being introduced as the second state language alongside Urdu from 1956 . Nevertheless, East Pakistan was still disadvantaged in the common state. The fertile East achieved surpluses with its jute and rice exports , which benefited almost exclusively from the western part, where they in turn were primarily spent on the military. In the Pakistani-Indian Kashmir War in 1965 in particular , it became clear that on the one hand West Pakistan made no efforts to secure East Pakistan militarily, on the other hand the Kashmir issue in East Pakistan hardly aroused any interest. The Bengali were severely under-represented in both the military and the state administration. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman , the charismatic leader of the East Pakistani Awami League , therefore called for extensive autonomy for Bengal (East Pakistan).
After the resignation of President Muhammed Ayub Khan on March 25, 1969, his successor General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan saw no other way out of Pakistan's political crisis than to call for long-delayed state elections (until then there had only been elections for the provincial councils ). These 1970 elections led to a landslide victory for the Awami League in East Pakistan, which also won the majority of seats in the Pakistani parliament. The electoral victory of the Awami League was aided by the devastating cyclone in November 1970 , to which the Pakistani leadership had only inadequately reacted. According to political logic, the Awami League should have formed the new government of all of Pakistan. This met with resistance in West Pakistan, especially from the election winner there, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto ( Pakistan Peoples Party ) and the Pakistani army . They decided to bloody suppression of the separatist endeavors, which resulted above all in the elimination of the Bengali elites, mass killings of supporters of the independence movement and religious minorities as well as mass rape to terrorize the Bengali population ( genocide in Bangladesh ). Just one day after the army came to power, Mujibur Rahman proclaimed the country's independence. Millions of people fled to neighboring India because of the terror of the Pakistani army and its local auxiliaries, which were mainly directed against the Hindu minority. India finally intervened militarily in the conflict in the Bangladesh war and brought about a decision (December 3 to 16, 1971). On December 16, 1971, East Pakistan also gained independence under international law and gave itself the name Bangladesh . After arriving from Pakistani custody, Rahman announced on January 10, 1972 in Dhaka in front of an audience of millions the rupture of the formerly state-united parts of West and East Pakistan. Two days later he presented a government in which he exercised the role of prime minister. According to the government of Bangladesh, up to three million Bangladeshis died in the war of independence and more than 20 million refugees fled to India. From the spring of 1972, Bangladesh was gradually recognized by the majority of the international community; Pakistan recognized the country in February 1974.
Democratic intermediate phase and military dictatorship
After its independence, Bangladesh became a parliamentary democracy with Mujibur Rahman as prime minister. In 1973 the Awami League won an absolute majority. In 1973, 1974 and early 1975, famines occurred nationwide. Mujibur Rahman introduced a one-party regime and renamed the Awami League in Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL, "Awami League of the Workers and Peasants of Bangladesh"). On August 15, 1975, Mujibur Rahman and much of his family were killed in a military coup. A series of coups and counter-coups followed over the next three months until General Ziaur Rahman (also known as Zia ) came to power. He reintroduced a multi-party system and founded the BNP ( Bangladesh Nationalist Party ). Zia was killed by competing military personnel in 1981. In 1982 General Hossain Mohammad Ershad came to power in a bloodless coup and in 1986 founded a new state party, the Jatiya Party, to support his rule . There were numerous protests and strikes against martial law and the Islamization of society, which the government was pursuing. Social tensions also arose with the 500,000 Biharis living in Bangladesh , most of whom had to live in camps. General Ershad tried by privatizing state-owned companies to create incentives for foreign investors and to reduce unemployment by around 30 percent. Ershad ruled until a popular uprising in 1990.
Change of power and democratization
After the popular uprising in 1990, Bangladesh returned to parliamentary democracy. Governments led by the BNP and the Awami League alternated at irregular intervals. From 1991 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2006 Khaleda Zia (BNP), Zia's widow, was Prime Minister and from 1996 to 2001 Hasina Wajed (Awami League), a surviving daughter of Mujibur Rahman, was Prime Minister. Hasina Wajed has been Prime Minister since the 2008 election .
The parliamentary elections scheduled for the beginning of 2007 could not be held on time due to massive unrest, so that, largely under pressure from the military, a transitional government under the economist Fakhruddin Ahmed took over the official business. This interim government implemented various reforms and tried to fight rampant corruption. More than 100 top politicians were charged with corruption. Also, Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia were arrested temporarily. The government's aim was to use threats of punishment to induce these two politicians to flee abroad and then refuse them to return to Bangladesh. However, the two stayed in the country, and the plan of the transitional government to get rid of the two leading, supposedly corrupt, top politicians in this way failed. Most of the other corruption charges also petered out. In the field of economic policy and the reform of state institutions (e.g. the central electoral commission), however, the transitional government acted relatively successfully. Although the emergency government was able to gain some popularity among the population, student protests formed in August 2007, which soon spread across the country. As a result, at the end of August, the government was forced to impose a curfew. New elections were announced for the beginning of 2008.
The 2008 election was clearly won by the Awami League under Hasina Wajed . She then had more than three-quarters of the seats in parliament. The 2014 election was boycotted by most opposition parties and the Awami League was able to repeat its election victory. However, due to the opposition boycott, the turnout was only an estimated 30%. The two major political camps (the ruling Awami League on the one hand and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)) have been irreconcilable ever since. The BNP called for new elections to be held soon and called for regular strike actions to force them, which the Awami government rejected. The domestic political climate was also heated by the high -profile trials against the leaders of the Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami for war crimes in the 1971 Bangladesh war. Several death sentences were carried out during the trials. On October 11, 2018, a court in Dhaka sentenced 19 people to death for attacking future Prime Minister Hasina Wajed with a hand grenade at an Awami League rally on August 21, 2004. Those convicted included leading opposition politicians. In addition, Tarique Rahman, son of former Prime Minister and opposition leader Khaleda Zia, who lives in exile in Britain, was sentenced to life imprisonment along with 18 other opposition activists. Since 2013 there have been repeated Islamist-motivated murders of secularists or bloggers with a secular worldview , which received worldwide attention. Under the Awami League government since 2008, there has been a significant improvement and intensification of mutual relations with neighboring India, which among other things resulted in the Indian-Bangladeshi border treaty that was finally ratified on May 7, 2015 .
According to the judgment of foreign observers, the 2018 parliamentary election could no longer be described as truly free and democratic, as it was completely under the dominance of the Awami government of Prime Minister Wajed. The leading opposition politician and BNP leader Khaleda Zia was sentenced to prison in 2018 for corruption, but was later given bail. It was largely sidelined politically. In the election, the Awami League won over 90% of the parliamentary seats.
Politics and state
According to the constitution of 1972 (amended in 2004), Bangladesh is a republic with a unicameral parliament. The parliament of Bangladesh is called Jatiyo Sangshad (German: "National Assembly") and has 350 members, 300 of which are directly elected in individual constituencies in a simple majority vote. The 50 additional seats are reserved for women who are indirectly elected by the 300 MPs according to the proportion of seats held by the parties. The legislative period lasts five years. The general right to vote applies from the age of 18.
The history of women's suffrage has been in stages. In 1937, the Government of India Act , which had been passed in 1935, went into effect and included the right to vote for literate women who had an income and paid taxes. When Pakistan became an independent rulership in 1947, this right was confirmed and also applied to Bangladesh, then East Pakistan . In 1956, when Bangladesh was still part of Pakistan, women were given universal suffrage . In 1971, as a result of the separation of East Pakistan from Pakistan, Bangladesh gained independence. On November 4, 1972, a new constitution was passed and put into effect in December 1972, which guaranteed universal suffrage for all citizens aged 18 and over.
The country's head of government is the prime minister, who is elected by parliament. As head of state, the president performs ceremonial duties. He is also elected by parliament for five years. Re-election is possible once.
In the 2019 Democracy Index of the British magazine The Economist, Bangladesh ranks 80th out of 167 countries and is therefore considered to be a “hybrid regime” of democratic and authoritarian elements. For Freedom House's assessment, see the Human Rights section below .
The divisions are:
|division||Capital||Area in km²||Population 2016||Population
In 2015, the Bangladeshi government announced that two more new divisions would be formed, Faridpur from parts of Dhaka and Kumilla from parts of Chittagong.
The capital Dhaka , the largest city in the country before Chittagong and Khulna, had 5,378,023 inhabitants in the actual city (9,912,908 in the agglomeration ) at the census on January 22, 2001 . In 2010 the number of residents is estimated at around 15 million. Almost half of them live in slums. As one of the fastest growing cities in the world, Dhaka is one of the megacities .
The biggest cities are (2011 census):
- Dhaka : 8,906,039 inhabitants
- Chittagong : 2,592,439 residents
- Khulna : 1,400,000 inhabitants (2014 census)
- Rajshahi : 448,087 inhabitants
- Sylhet : 369,425 inhabitants (2007 census)
- For the concrete election results, see the section on recent history
The 300 directly elected members of parliament ( Jatiya Sangsad ) are elected in as many constituencies using simple majority voting according to the British model. On the one hand, this leads to a clear majority in elections, on the other hand, even small shifts in votes can lead to massive changes in the distribution of seats. For example, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) won only a few more votes than the Awami League (40.97% versus 40.13% ) in the 2001 general election , but gained almost two-thirds of the parliamentary seats. In previous parliamentary elections, the electoral system often led to super majorities in parliament, which enabled the ruling party to also change the constitution, which at least made it easier to abuse power.
Traditionally there are few female candidates in elections. In order to increase the proportion of women in parliament, the rule was introduced that the elected parliament could elect additional women members. The number of these additional female MPs was initially 15, then from 1979 to 1987, and from 1990 to 2000 30, from 2005 45 and from 2018 then 50. The target size of Parliament is currently 350 MPs.
Since the re-establishment of democracy in 1990, Bangladesh has practically been a two-party system. The current relative majority voting system based on the British model strongly favors larger parties. On one side is the Bangladesh Nationalist Party , a moderately Islamic, conservative party led by Khaleda Zia , the widow of the military ruler Ziaur Rahman (president 1977–1981 and party founder). Opposite it is the Awami League , which sees itself as a socialist- secular party and whose chairman is Sheikh Hasina Wajed , a daughter of the first prime minister and party founder Mujibur Rahman , who was murdered in the military coup in 1975 . Smaller parties are the Jatiya Party and the Islamist Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami . However, the Jamaat was withdrawn from parliamentary elections in 2013 as a political party. There are also a number of small left-wing socialist, communist and Islamist or Islamic party groups.
Politics is largely shaped by personal animosity between the two party leaders Khaleda Zia and Hasina Wajed. During the other party's reigns, they often engaged in fundamental opposition, accusing the other party of electoral fraud and corruption, and refusing to work together constructively. In the context of this opposition, street riots, blockades and general strikes often took place, which destabilized the country.
Bangladesh pursues a balanced foreign policy . In accordance with its geographical location, the importance of foreign development aid and the country's economic and political interests, Bangladesh pursues constructive cooperation within the regional framework, within the Islamic world and with Western states. Since many of the country's pressing problems ( water balance , energy supply , access to maritime resources) can only be solved with immediate and regional neighbors, relations with India and Myanmar play a prominent role. India played an important role in the emergence of independent Bangladesh. However, relationships are not without problems. India almost completely encloses Bangladesh geographically and has a decisive influence on important factors that determine the future fate of Bangladesh. India controls the upper reaches of all major rivers that flow through Bangladesh. The exploitation of the gas reserves suspected in the Bay of Bengal is also dependent on an agreement with India on the borderline. A number of other difficult issues such as transit rights, illegal border crossing and migration, water distribution, counter-terrorism measures and smuggling are discussed in regular government meetings. Since the end of the colonial era, around 200 enclaves have made the borderline extremely complex. Starting in 1993, India built a 3200 kilometer long structure to fortify the main border line. Starting in 2011, Bangladesh and India resumed negotiations to exchange enclaves. A border treaty was signed on May 7, 2015 , according to which Bangladesh received 111 Indian enclaves and India in return 52 Bangladeshi on its territory. This established a regulated limit. 53,000 residents of the affected areas were able to decide which of the two states they wanted to belong to.
Relations with China are good and are primarily characterized by the commitment of the Chinese government and Chinese companies to expanding the infrastructure in Bangladesh. China is the second largest trading partner after India and the most important supplier of military equipment. There is a special relationship with the Arab Gulf States, where more than half of the more than 7 million Bangladeshi guest workers work. Their remittances are the most important source of foreign currency for Bangladesh after the export revenues of the textile industry. Bangladesh is also a founding member of SAARC ( South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ).
There are also close ties to Great Britain and the USA, if only because of the large number of Bangladeshis living there (500,000 and 150,000 migrants, respectively).
Bangladesh has the highest marriage rate among girls under the age of 15 in the world. According to a UNICEF study, 29 percent of them are married under the age of 15, and 2 percent are married under the age of 11. For girls, child marriages mean dropping out of secondary school education, neglect and domestic violence by spouses and parents-in-law as well as serious damage to health and even death from premature pregnancies. According to Human Rights Watch , despite promises to the contrary , the government of Bangladesh has not taken sufficient measures to prevent child marriages.
In 2017, the human rights organization Freedom House rated Bangladesh as a “partially free” society. In terms of freedom of the press, the country was rated “not free”. On the Freedom House scale from zero (worst) to one hundred (best), Bangladesh received a value of 47 and was ahead of Pakistan (43) and neighboring Myanmar (32), but clearly behind India (77). The main points of criticism are, on the one hand, the repeatedly flaring up intolerance towards religious and ethnic minorities. The former include mainly the Hindus, but also Christians and Buddhists. The high number of kidnappings, probably for political motives, in which state organs appear to be involved, is a cause for concern. On February 24, 2017, a group of United Nations experts called on the Bangladeshi government to take measures to stop the disappearance of politically unpopular people and to clarify the fate of those who disappeared. The number of people who disappeared rose from a few isolated cases a few years ago to over 40 cases in February 2017. The kidnappings particularly affected people associated with the opposition. Prominent people kidnapped were Hummam Quader Chowdhury (kidnapped August 3, 2016, re-emerged March 2, 2017), the son of BNP politician Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury , Mir Ahmed Bin Quasem (kidnapped on August 9, 2016), lawyer and son of the alleged Jamaat politician Mir Quasem Ali and Brigadier General Abdullahil Amaan Al Azmi (kidnapped August 22, 2016), the son of Jamaat politician Ghulam Azam , who was also sentenced to death but who had previously died . Family members of the abductees suspected that special forces of the Bangladeshi police operating in plain clothes were responsible for the kidnappings. The aforementioned Hummam Quader Chowdhury declared after his reappearance that he could no longer remember any circumstances of his abduction. Western media and human rights organizations such as Amnesty International have also repeatedly taken up the issue and called on the Bangladeshi government to comply with and enforce the rule of law.
In the 2017 press freedom ranking published by Reporters Without Borders , Bangladesh was ranked 146th out of 180 countries. The situation of press freedom in the country is classified by the non-governmental organization as "difficult". Journalists have recently suffered from intimidation and violence from various religious and political groups. In 2015, several liberal bloggers were murdered by Islamists.
In 2017, at least one journalist in Bangladesh was killed as a result of his activities , according to Reporters Without Borders . Another eight journalists were in custody.
In 2018, in connection with school and student protests, there were violent attacks on journalists and a partial internet throttling.
- Religious freedom
Freedom of religion is formally guaranteed by the constitution ( see above for the contradiction between secularism and Islam as the state religion ). But there is de facto religious intolerance. Religious persecution occurs mainly because of Islamic oppression. In the case of apparently religiously motivated outbreaks of violence, economic motives and interethnic conflicts often also play a role. Religious minorities are threatened by irregular outbreaks of violence, especially during political events (elections).
In 2016, the Pew Research Center rated the government's restriction on religious freedom as "high". The restrictions due to social pressure were rated as "very high". A 2016 report by Minority Rights Group International concluded that the government had to do more to protect religious minorities.
Community leaders who work with Islamic leaders carry out extrajudicial fatwas against women or other minorities, even though they are prohibited by law. There is a law in the Criminal Code that criminalizes "intentionally malicious" statements about religion. The interpretation of this vague provision is subject to the courts. Allegedly “un-Islamic” statements were removed from school books.
2016 was a year of particularly severe persecution. Due to government measures, the situation improved the following year. In June 2016, Bengali Muslims burned down 300 houses of the mostly Buddhist Chakma . In November 2016, 30 Hindu houses in Rangpur were set on fire by a Muslim mob and 600 houses of the mostly Christian Santal were robbed and set on fire. Some people were also killed and many injured. Around 7,000 Santal were evicted to get to the disputed land. On the Open Doors World Persecution Index , Bangladesh has long been one of the 50 countries with the strongest persecution of Christians . Converts from Islam are particularly hard hit by religious intolerance . The pressure comes particularly from families, neighbors and religious leaders. If they are discovered, converts are often threatened with divorce and disinheritance or they and possibly their families are isolated and in some cases forced to flee. Militant groups threaten them with death.
Armed forces and defense
The 2019/2020 annual budget shows military spending of 3.87 billion US dollars, which corresponds to 8.3 percent of the total budget.
The armed forces of Bangladesh comprise around 450,000 soldiers. In August 2015, 9,432 members of the Bangladeshi armed forces and police were deployed as United Nations peacekeeping forces (including 8,135 soldiers, 74 military advisors and 1,223 police officers), placing Bangladesh first.
The soldiers deployed are widely considered to be disciplined and reliable, and military leaders from Bangladesh have been appointed commanders of peace missions several times. Bangladesh receives US $ 200 million annually in compensation for these operations (as of 2006), this represents an important source of income for the country and the armed forces. Furthermore, the resulting interest of the armed forces of Bangladesh in a good relationship with the UN is considered to be an important one in domestic politics stabilizing factor.
|UN mission||soldiers||Military observer||police officers|
|MINURSO (Western Sahara)||20th||7th||-|
|MINUSCA (Central African Republic)||929||11||-|
|MONUSCO (Democratic Republic of the Congo)||1712||17th||180|
|UNAMID (Darfur, Sudan)||372||8th||314|
|UNMISS (South Sudan)||484||6th||23|
|UNOCI (Ivory Coast)||235||13||150|
As in many other developing countries, Bangladesh's economy has been on a solid growth path in recent years. In the decade 2005–2014, economic growth averaged around 5.6% annually. The even higher growth rates of over 7 percent in 2016 and 2017 already corresponded to the economic growth of neighboring India. In 2011, the Bangladeshi government announced the goal of transforming the country into a Middle Income Country by 2021 . To this end, the government targeted economic growth rates of 7 to 8% in the years 2012 to 2015. This goal was not fully met and the rate ranged between 6 and 7%. Inadequate political stability (especially in the past), inadequate infrastructure in every respect (roads, rail transport, port facilities, electricity, internet) and inefficient bureaucracy are seen as major obstacles to growth. The latter also includes widespread corruption and nepotism in politics and administration. According to economic experts, significantly more should be invested in education than before. The strengths are the young population, the textile sector, which is competitive due to the low wages, and an IT industry that is emerging. The remittances of over 7 million Bangladeshis abroad make an important contribution. According to official figures, there were 550,000 Bangladeshis living in Saudi Arabia alone in 2017 (the actual numbers may have been higher). In 2016/2017, US $ 12.8 billion were transferred from foreign Bangladeshis to Bangladesh. The majority of these accounted for transfers from the Arab Gulf states.
The main products of agriculture are rice and jute . The country is the fourth largest rice producer (as of 2016). Wheat , corn and vegetables are of growing importance . Other products are sugar cane , wood and tea . Jute was an important export product, but it is increasingly being replaced by plastics as a packaging material.
The industry in Bangladesh produces textiles , jute and jute products, leather , leather products and ceramics . The country became the second largest textile producer in the world (see Textile Industry in Bangladesh ). There is also a steel mill, shipyards and chemical companies as well as pharmaceutical companies .
The dismantling yards near Chittagong are engaged in ship scrapping.
The international operating airline Biman Bangladesh Airlines is 100% owned by the state.
As mentioned several times above, a major problem facing the state is corruption . After the Corruption Perceptions Index of Transparency International was Bangladesh in 2017 by 180 countries, together with Kenya , Guatemala and Lebanon on the 143rd place, with 28 of a maximum of 100 points.
In the Global Competitiveness Index , which measures a country's competitiveness, Bangladesh was ranked 99th out of 137 countries (as of 2017-2018). In 2019, the country was ranked 121st out of 180 countries in the index for economic freedom .
The unemployment rate is reported to be only around 4% in 2017, but the vast majority of jobs are informal and underemployment is widespread. Estimates assume an underemployment rate of up to 40%. In 2016, 42.7% of the total workforce worked in agriculture, 36.9% in the service sector and 20.5% in industry. The total number of employees is estimated at 66.7 million for 2017, 29.1% of them women. Several million workers have emigrated. Low-skilled emigrate mainly to the Gulf States and higher-skilled to the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
In 2013, goods were imported for $ 32.94 billion and exported for $ 26.91 billion, leaving the foreign trade balance with a negative balance of $ 6.03 billion. The main export goods are textiles, which are mainly produced on behalf of foreign companies (mainly from Germany and the United States ).
The European Union is Bangladesh's most important economic partner, ahead of India, China and the USA. More than three quarters of all export goods from Bangladesh come from the European and North American markets. Bangladesh benefits from the European Union's Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative , which gives Least Developed Countries (LDCs) unhindered access to the European Union market. The textile sector in particular benefits from this: around 60% of textile exports go to the EU .
The state budget in 2016 comprised expenditure of the equivalent of US $ 35.3 billion ; this contrasted with revenues of the equivalent of 23.7 billion US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 5.0% of GDP . The national debt was 33% of GDP.
Government expenditure was distributed among the individual departments as follows (in% of GDP):
Bangladesh's infrastructure is in poor condition, including frequent and severe flooding during the monsoon season . The road network has a length of 21,269 kilometers, of which only about 5 percent (1063 kilometers) are paved (see also the list of national roads in Bangladesh ). This is why many serious accidents occur in road traffic. In 2013 there were 13.6 road deaths for every 100,000 inhabitants in Bangladesh. For comparison: In Germany there were 4.3 deaths in the same year. These figures give an even clearer indication of a lack of road safety when you put them in relation to the country's low motorization rate. In 2010 there were only 3 automobiles for every 1000 inhabitants in the country.
The rail network operated by the national railway company Bangladesh Railway covers 2885 kilometers (as of 2015). Currently there is a dualism of two gauges that goes back to the British colonial era - in the west of the country and south of the Padma the railway lines are built in Indian broad gauge , in the east they are meter gauge . This brings with it significant logistical problems, since locomotives and railroad cars cannot be used equally on all routes. Efforts were and are therefore made to upgrade all lines to three- rail tracks . In the long term, a switch to Indian broad gauge is planned.
There are three international airports ( Dhaka , Chittagong and Sylhet ), several domestic airports (see: List of airports in Bangladesh ) and two seaports (Chittagong, Mongla ). The national airline is Biman Bangladesh Airlines .
|date||German name||Local name||Remarks|
|21st of February||Martyrs Day /
International Mother Language Day
|Memory of the victims of the language protest in Dhaka in 1952 as part of the Bengali language movement|
|26th of March||Independence day||স্বাধীনতা দিবস
|Commemoration of the official proclamation of Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan on March 26, 1971|
|1st of May||First of May||মে দিবস
|December 16||day of the victory||বিজয় দিবস
|A public holiday; Victory over Pakistan in the Bangladesh war .|
|The feast of the birth of Jesus Christ .|
|date||German name||Local name||Remarks|
|10th and 11th Dhul-hidja||Festival of Sacrifice||
|Celebration of the end of Hajj . In memory of the story of Abraham , a sacrificial animal (sheep, billy goat, camel, bull, etc.) is slaughtered.|
|1st and 2nd Shawwal||Feast of Breaking the Fast||
|Celebration of the end of Ramadan .|
|12. Rabīʿ al-awwal||Birthday of the prophet||
|Birthday of the Islamic prophet Mohammed .|
|9th and 10th Muharram||Ashura day||
|Commemoration of the martyr death of Imam al-Husain ibn ʿAlī .|
|27. Rajab||Ascension of Muhammad||
Bangladesh has typical South Asian cuisine. Mainly rice dishes are served, which have a certain spiciness. Often dishes are prepared with meat, chicken or fish, but also with vegetables. Rice dishes are just as common in combination with seafood, especially with crabs. Sweets are often consumed, although the ingredients and flavor can vary widely. There are also often dairy-based desserts, for example sandesh or pithas. As a rule, you can get tea or lassi as a drink . There is also a large number of other milk and fruit juice drinks.
Bengali literature is around 1000 years old and flourished in the Mughal Empire. In modern times she became internationally known through the works of Michael Madhusudan Dutt , Rabindranath Thakur , Kazi Ahdul Wadud , Kankim Chandra Chattopadhyai , Mir Mosharraf Hossain and the rebellious poet Kazi Nazrul Islam , who composed 3000 songs. The strict lyrical anecdotes of the poet Jasimuddin maintained the connection to the troubled masses through their descriptions of the hard life in the country. Contemporary Bengali literature received creative impulses from a new generation of writers such as the poet Shamsur Rahman , who wrote 60 volumes of poetry, Humayun Ahmed and Begum Sufia Kamal . The vibrant Bengali literary scene is experimenting with social and critical realism.
As residents of a country with heavy rainfall, mighty rivers, and lush greenery, Bangladeshis have a strong connection with nature. Her music is emotional, ecstatic and romantic, there is a song for every occasion, every mood and season. Modern Bengali music comes from two different schools. The first, a mixture of east and west, was initiated by Rabindranath Thakur, the second led by Kazi Nazrul Islam. Music also plays a major role in the lives of people in Bangladesh, basically there is no house in which a song does not sound.
The Bangladesh film industry is centered in the capital Dhaka. Before the partition of India in 1947, films in the Bengali language were mostly produced in Calcutta (Kolkata). The largest part of the Bangladeshi film production are entertainment films in the typical South Asian style with dance and singing interludes. Some of the most critically acclaimed filmmakers include Zahir Raihan , Alamgir Kabir , Humayun Ahmed , Tanvir Mokammel, and Tareque Masud . Since 2003, the country has been submitting films for the Oscar for best foreign language film .
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