Bangladesh 2008

1 May 2008 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm

Chatham House, London


Michael Shaikh, Asia Advocacy and Research Analyst, International Crisis Group
Brad Adams, Asia Division Executive Director, Human Rights Watch
Chair: Peter Fowler, Cairn Energy



Bangladesh is under military rule again for the third time in as many decades. Although the caretaker government insists its plans to stamp out corruption and hold general elections by December 2008 are on track, its achievements have been patchy and relations with the major political parties are acrimonious. Some progress is evident, such as the beginnings of a new electoral roll, increased separation of the judiciary from the executive, and anti-corruption measures targeting once powerful politicians. The army has been careful to avoid being front and centre but there have been persistent signals that it would like to institutionalise a degree of influence. Bangladesh's immediate need is for dialogue between the government and the main parties.

The speakers will examine the political state of Bangladesh under military rule, assesses the performance of the caretaker government, and prospects for political reforms and stability.

Michael Shaikh is the International Crisis Group's Asia Advocacy and Research Analyst based in New York. Michael re-joined Crisis Group in August 2007 after returning from Afghanistan and Pakistan where he worked first as an Analyst for Crisis Group and then as the Afghanistan Researcher for Human Rights Watch. Before moving to South Asia in 2004, Michael worked and studied in China, Japan and Jordan.

Brad Adams has been Executive Director of Human Rights Watch's Asia Division since 2002. The division he oversees covers human rights issues in 20 countries from Afghanistan to the Pacific. Prior to Human Rights Watch, Brad worked in Cambodia for five years as the senior lawyer for the Cambodia field office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and as the legal advisor to the Cambodian parliament's human rights committee. Mr Adams conducted human rights investigations, initiated the UN's first in-country judicial mentor program, drafted and revised legislation, such as the press law, political party law, NGO law, and others.

The speakers will talk on the record, the discussions will be under the Chatham House Rule.

The Chatham House Rule

To enable as open a debate as possible, this event will be held under the Chatham House Rule.