The ICRC in Bangladesh

25-09-2012 Overview

In Bangladesh, the ICRC seeks to protect and assist people affected by collective and organized armed violence. It promotes awareness and implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL) among authorities, academic institutions, law enforcement agencies and armed forces. The ICRC also focuses on building the capacity of its national partner, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society. Through a worldwide tracing network, the ICRC and the Bangladesh Red Crescent reunite missing people with their families, and facilitate the repatriation of vulnerable Bangladeshi migrants from abroad. The ICRC also works to improve and increase access to physical rehabilitation for the most vulnerable disabled people.

From 1971 to 1975, the ICRC carried out a large-scale humanitarian operation in Bangladesh to alleviate the suffering of the victims of the conflict that had displaced millions. Having re-established its presence in the country in 2006, the ICRC signed a headquarters agreement with the government of Bangladesh in 2010, thereby transforming its mission in Dhaka into a delegation. Since then, the ICRC has been pursuing dialogue with the Bangladeshi authorities about the possibility of visiting people deprived of their liberty.

Promoting humanitarian principles

The ICRC endeavours to promote the ratification and implementation of IHL treaties at government level by supporting the authorities’ efforts to set up a national IHL committee. It also facilitates the process of incorporating IHL and international human rights law into the teaching, training and operations of the police, military and other security forces.

The ICRC engages in dialogue with members of civil society in order to foster greater understanding of humanitarian principles among religious leaders, journalists, academics and university students. Where appropriate, the ICRC enlists their support in furthering the work of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Helping victims of violence

In the event of outbreaks of organized armed violence, the ICRC and the Bangladesh Red Crescent distribute aid to the victims to enable the affected families to recover more quickly. It also reminds the authorities of their responsibility to protect civilians.

The ICRC provides ongoing training and support to strengthen the National Society’s emergency-response and restoring-family-links work. Emblem campaigns are carried out nationwide to raise awareness of the misuse of the red cross and red crescent emblems, which are essential for identifying the Movement during its humanitarian operations in times of crisis. The ICRC also calls for the adoption of constitutional amendments that enhance the autonomy of the Bangladesh Red Crescent.

Reuniting separated families

Families are able to re-establish and maintain contact with relatives detained abroad thanks to the Bangladesh Red Crescent and the ICRC's tracing, telephone and Red Cross message (family news) services. In coordination with the authorities, the National Society and the ICRC facilitate the repatriation of vulnerable migrants to Bangladesh.

The ICRC also runs training courses on handling mortal remains with a view to shedding light on the fate of people reported missing in the wake of violence and natural disasters.

Boosting physical–rehabilitation services

In order to increase access for people with physical disabilities, particularly the financially destitute, to rehabilitation services, the ICRC signed an agreement in September 2011 with the Centre for the Rehabilitation of the Paralysed. Thanks to the ICRC's expertise in producing high-quality and low-cost orthopaedic devices, the Centre has improved its production of custom-made artificial limbs for those in need.


Bishnurampur village, Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Moslem Uddin Sarker is reunited with his mother after 23 years imprisonment.  

Bishnurampur village, Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Moslem Uddin Sarker is reunited with his mother after 23 years imprisonment.

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