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Bangladesh slides down the Global Peace Index

DHAKA (UCAN): Bangladesh has slipped further down in the latest Global Peace Index, which was published by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics, and Peace on June 13. Ranked 84th in 2017, the country slid to 93 in 2018, and finally tumbled to sit at 101 out of 163 independent countries and territories in the 2019 rankings.
In South Asia, Bangladesh sits fourth after Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Nepal but is ahead of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Analysts say the country’s downward 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, said.
“Social security has nosedived, employment opportunities declined. Health services and education have been extended to more areas, but quality hasn’t improved,” he explained, going on to noted that the country’s economy is controlled by vested interests who make the most out of their investments, while most people are deprived.
Ahmed added that there is migration of poor people to cities from rural areas, but they end up even more neglected.
“We are good in horizontal or infrastructural development but failing constantly on vertical or sustainable development,” he 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,” he said. 
Holy Cross Father Liton Gomes, secretary of the Catholic bishops’ Justice and Peace Commission, noted that economic and human developments don’t go hand in hand in Bangladesh.
“At the 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 said.
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, which is 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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