Community Security: Experiences from Bangladesh
As in many developing countries, Bangladesh’s security architecture continues to conform to conventional practices that prioritise state security through institution-building above all. While delivering some sense of security, this approach means authorities tend to be more reactive to security needs, rather than being proactive and taking preventative actions.
Additionally, the security situation in Bangladesh is becoming more precarious, with political polarisation increasing the threat of violence and creating space for growing extremist ideologies and the associated cycles of violence that are typical of attempts to express or supress those ideologies.
Building peace and preventing violence across Bangladesh requires a participatory approach, with full support from and cooperation of local communities, and complemented by able and empowered civil society organisations. This process must begin by rebuilding trust between authorities and communities. Community Security: Experiences from Bangladesh outlines how to do this through a collaborative approach called ‘community security’, which brings people together to identify security challenges and plan how to address them collectively. The briefing draws on lessons learned and best practices from Saferworld and BRAC’s mid-term community security programme review, which covers June 2012–June 2014 – the midway point of our four-year programme. It also sets out recommendations for how policymakers in Bangladesh can contribute to lasting peace and security.
Date: June 2015
In the first two years of the project, and with support from Saferworld and BRAC, a diverse range of community members in each Upazila formed Community Action Committees and youth groups where people were able to discuss security issues and plan responses collaboratively.