Many experts are of the view that poverty is encouraging terrorism in many poor countries. They say poverty is a breeding ground for discontent and it increases the risks of conflict through multiple paths. Poor countries are more likely to have weak governments, making it easier for the terrorists to grab vital resources. Resource scarcity can provoke population migrations and displacements that result in conflicts between social groups.
Without productive alternatives, young people may turn to violence for material gain or feel a sense of hopelessness, despair and rage. Economic development stalls when governments do not uphold the rule of law, pursue sound economic policy, make appropriate public investments, manage a public administration, protect basic human rights, and support civil society organisations, including those representing poor people, in national decision-making.
The rule of law involves security in private property, safety from violence and physical abuse, honesty and transparency in government functions, and predictability of government behaviour according to law.
There is no denying that Bangladesh has failed to achieve these basic standards, sometimes due to indulgence of politicians in corruption, who use violence and corruption to hold on to power.
World Bank President James Wolfensohn once said the world would be a more dangerous place in the next generation. ?What are our children going to do if half the planet cannot get a job, cannot have a family, are frustrated in everything that they're trying to do and who are knowledgeable today about what is happening,? Wolfensohn said. ?Frustration and a lack of hope will drive instability.?
At the Millennium Summit in September 2000, the largest gathering of world leaders in history, adopted the UN Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a global partnership to reduce poverty, improve health, and promote peace, human rights, gender equality, and environmental sustainability.
The goals not only reflect global justice and human rights, but they are also vital to international and national security and stability. Poor and hungry societies are much more likely than high-income societies to fall into conflict over scarce vital resources, such as watering holes and arable land and over scarce natural resources, such as oil, diamonds, and timber.
Achieving the Millennium Development goals should, therefore, be placed centrally in international efforts to end violent conflicts, instability, and terrorism.
NewsNetwork conducted this study titled ?Extremism in Bangladesh: Poverty is The Root Cause? to high light how lack of economically viable options other than criminal activity creates the seedbed of instability and increases the potential for violence. We hope that the study will help the policymakers to come up with steps to ensure political and social rights and fairness in society across groups.
A three-member team of journalists, led by Ekram Kabir, conducted the study. We appreciate their hard labour and thank the Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka for its support to publish the study.