Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 22 August 2018, 17:00 NZST
  • Still current at: 22 September 2018

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel to Bangladesh due to the heightened threat of terrorism and uncertain security situation.

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Terrorism
There is an ongoing threat of terrorism in Bangladesh. There have been a number of deadly attacks in recent years, including fatal attacks targeting foreigners.

Significant attacks include: 

-       On 24 March 2017, a suicide bombing occurred at a checkpoint near Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka.

-       On 1 July 2016, gunmen attacked a cafe in Dhaka’s Gulshan 2 district killing 22 people, including 17 foreigners. Reports suggest the attack deliberately targeted foreign nationals.

Further attacks in public places and targeting foreigners are possible. Terrorist groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq (ISIL) and Al Qaeda in the Indian Sub-continent (AQIS), have claimed responsibility for previous attacks and continue to make threats to conduct further attacks in Bangladesh, including against foreigners. Other targets have included religious minority groups, secular activists, academics and members of the LGBTI community. Authorities have successfully disrupted a number of planned attacks and remain on high alert. There may be an increase in security presence and restrictions on movement may be put in place on short notice.

New Zealanders throughout Bangladesh are advised to be vigilant at all times, particularly in public places and stay informed of potential risks to safety and security by monitoring the media and other local information sources. You should follow any advice or instructions issued by the local authorities, take official warnings seriously. We recommend exercising caution around potential attack targets such as locations where foreign nationals gather such as hotels, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, markets, shopping malls, conference centres, educational facilities, places of worship, government buildings, embassies and public transport hubs. If you are in an area involved in an attack, leave as soon as it is safe to do so.

Civil Unrest
Nationwide strikes (hartals), demonstrations, and localised industrial disputes are common.  This civil unrest often escalates into violence, causing deaths, injuries and significant property damage. Strikes can be highly disruptive and involve the shutdown of all activity, including commerce and communications, within a given area. Transport networks may be blockaded and essential supplies, such as fuel, can be difficult to get. 

Small-scale improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and firearms have been used by some protestors in the past and hartals are frequently accompanied by violence targeting public transport or private vehicles moving on roads in the affected area. We recommend avoiding unnecessary travel during these periods and exercising a heightened degree of vigilance.

Bangladesh has experienced periods of political unrest in the past. The political situation in Bangladesh remains volatile. There have been periodic protests and clashes related to domestic political developments and further unrest and hartals are possible. On 29 July 2018 two schoolchildren were killed by a speeding bus in Dhaka, resulting in significant protests, which turned violent at times. The majority of violent civil unrest in Bangladesh occurs in response to domestic political developments. Dates of national significance may be a focus for protesters and have attracted violence in the past. General elections are due in December 2018.

New Zealanders are advised to be vigilant and avoid all political demonstrations, rallies and large public gatherings as they could turn violent with little warning.  Plan your movements carefully, including exit strategies in case violence erupts. We recommend following local media for updates.

Chittagong Hill Tracts region
New Zealanders should be particularly vigilant in the Chittagong Hill tracts region. Politically motivated and ethnic violence is an issue  in the region and there are regular reports of violent crime. In particular, travellers should be alert to the threat of kidnapping and armed robbery in remote areas. If you do plan on travelling there despite our advice, the Bangladesh authorities require 10 days notice to provide prior approval for travel.

Violent Crime
Violent crimes such as armed robbery and assault (including sexual assault) occur in Bangladesh. Petty crime, including pickpocketing and snatch and grab attacks are also common and often target those travelling in rickshaws, CNGs (motorised rickshaws), taxis and other forms of public transport.

The risk of robbery increases after dark. New Zealanders are advised to avoid walking or travelling alone, or taking public transportation, particularly after dark. Only use registered taxis. As victims of robbery are often targeted due to their perceived wealth, it is advisable to avoid wearing or displaying items that appear valuable, such as electronic devices, cameras and jewellery. No resistance should be given if you are the victim of a robbery as this could lead to an escalation in violence. 

Piracy
Piracy is a problem in and around Bangladeshi waters. Mariners are advised to take appropriate precautionary measures in these waters. For more information view the International Maritime Bureau's piracy report.

General Travel Advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious, social and cultural traditions in Bangladesh to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour.

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe and can include lengthy imprisonment or fines.

Photography of government offices, airports, military establishments or officials, official residences or demonstrations is prohibited, and could result in arrest and detention. If in doubt, don’t take a picture.

Authorities may ask for proof of your identity, and there are several security checkpoints, so carry a photocopy of your passport and visa for Bangladesh at all times.

New Zealanders travelling or resident in Bangladesh should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Bangladesh are strongly encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips


The New Zealand High Commission New Delhi, India is accredited to Bangladesh

Street Address Sir Edmund Hillary Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021, India Telephone +91 11 4688 3170 Fax +91 11 4688 3165 Email nzhcindia@mfat.net Web Site http://www.nzembassy.com/india Hours Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700 hrs

New Zealand Consulate Dhaka, Bangladesh

Street Address 'AVANTI', Apartment No.B4, House No.37, Road No.27, Block-A, Banani, Dhaka - 1213 Telephone +880 (2) 985 6334 Alternate Telephone +880 (2) 985 6335 Mobile +880 173 004 5045 Fax 008802- 9856390 Email neaz.ahmed09@gmail.com

See our regional advice for South Asia

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Accredited New Zealand High Commission India

Street Address
Sir Edmund Hillary Marg, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi 110 021, India

Telephone: +91 11 4688 3170

Fax: +91 11 4688 3165

Email: nzhcindia@mfat.net

Website: http://www.nzembassy.com/india

Hours: Mon - Fri 0830 - 1700 hrs

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