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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Army attacks Buddhist temple in Rangamati

A Buddhist temple attacked by army in Rangamati

On 26 October 2010 at night 4:00 a.m. a Buddhist temple named ‘Triratna Bono Sadhana Kuthir’ located at Chegeya Chhari (Amtola) of No. 1 Suvolong union under Barkol upazila (sub-district) of Rangamati Hill District came under attack of Bangladesh Army. There are also 12 small Kuthirs (cottage) as part of and including the main temple ‘Triratna Bono Sadhana Kuthir’. It is mentionable that the Kuthirs (cottage) are used as meditation place.
It is learnt that on that time a group of army numbering 20/25 of nearby Bhijey Kijing Army Camp and Banduk Chhari (Banojogi Chhara) Zone Head Quarter, 23 Bir Regiment led by Lt. Colonel Mijanur Rahaman broke into the temple area and destroyed 9 Kuthir and threw valuable things including images of Buddha away into river after destruction.
It is also learnt that after committing such a religious profanation, Lt. Colonel Mijanur Rahaman is again threatening that if this incident is made public outside, all will be picked up and beaten. 

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Below is the report from chtnewsonline on the same incident:

Army attacks Buddhist temple in Rangamati


MEMBERS of the Bangladesh Military attacked a Buddhist temple and
destroyed ten Kuthirs or cottages built around the temple for
practicing meditation in a remote area in Rangamati district.

The incident took place in the small hours yesterday, Tuesday.

Sources said a group of army personnel from Banajogi Chara camp
attacked Triratna Bana Sadhana Kuthir at Amtoli in remote
Barkal-Jurachari border area under Subolong Union and destroyed the
cottages where Buddhist monks and novices live and meditate.

Some Buddhist novices live in the temple which was established on 27
July 2007. The name of the chief abbot is Ven. Sudakka Sramana.

Shanti Dev Chakma, chief organiser of UPDF Rangamati District Unit, in
a statement condemned the attack, terming it as “a flagrant violation
of the right of religious freedom”, and urged the government to take
appropriate actions against those responsible for the attack, and to
apologize and pay adequate compensation to the temple authority.


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source: .............................
chtnews.com is an independent and voluntary online news service
dedicated to projecting and analyzing the current events in the
Chittagong Hill Tracts from the perspective of the Jumma people's
struggle for the right to self-determination. For further information
please contact at: chtnewsonline@gmail.com

PCJSS Memo on Constitutional Recognition of IPs submitted to Special Committee on Constitution Recognition

PCJSS Memo on Constitutional Recognition of IPs submitted to Special Committee on Constitution Recognition

Press Release (26 Oct 2010)                                                            

Eric Avebury's ( Co-chair of the CHT Commission) interview with "Kalerkantho"

Eric Avebury's ( Co-chair of the CHT Commission) interview with "Kalerkantho"

Lord Eric Avebury Interview                                                            

Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Upojati", "Adivasi", "Khudro- Nri- Goushthi", and what's next?......"Shahana Hooda" makes it clear!!!

"Upojati", "Adivasi", "Khudro- Nri- Goushthi", and what's next?......"Shahana Huda" makes it clear!!!


courtesy: prothom-alo.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Indigenous people to get constitutional recognition Says Suranjit

Indigenous people to get constitutional recognition

Says Suranjit

undefinedSuranjit Sengupta speaks at a discussion at Cirdap auditorium in the city yesterday.Photo: STAR
The government will recognise the indigenous people in the constitution of the country, Suranjit Sengupta, co-chairman of parliamentary special committee for constitutional amendment, said yesterday.
''We want to give the constitutional recognition to the indigenous people. The Adivasi people and their well-wishers should place this demand to the special committee. I will take the matter seriously to the committee,'' he said.

Suranjit was speaking as the chief guest at a discussion on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous People jointly organised by Bangladesh Adivasi Forum and ActionAid at Cirdap auditorium in the city.
The indigenous people have been demanding the recognition of their identities in the constitution for long. Suranjit said, it is a great opportunity to take this issue to discussions, as the government has taken initiative to amend the constitution.

''The indigenous people should go ahead with their demands, and we the main stream political forces are always with them,'' said Suranjit who had been a member of the original constitutional drafting committee.
Hasanul Haque Inu, another member of the JS special committee for constitutional amendment, said, ''I will personally try hard to include the recognition of the indigenous people in the constitution.''

''Many high profile politicians do not want the indigenous people's constitutional recognition,'' he added.

Prof Mesbah Kamal said with the constitutional recognition the spirit of Bangali nationality will not be undermined. ''We have to honour the emotion of the indigenous people who want their own identity, and the best way to honour their spirit is to give them constitutional recognition.''

Columnist Syed Abul Maksud, Information Commissioner Prof Sadeka Halim, Country Director of ActionAid Farah Kabir, among others, addressed the discussion.

Manabendra Narayan Larma (Santu Larma), founder of Parbatya Chattagra Jana Shanghati Samity, who was a member of the parliament in 1972, had opposed the original constitution since there was no mention about the indigenous community.


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courtesy: dailystar. http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=159176







prothom-alo

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Work for land port in Rangamati starts

Work for land port in Rangamati starts

Locals eye boost in trade with India

Site for the proposed Land Customs Station near Thegamukh border outpost in Borohornia union under Barkal upazila of Rangamati district.Photo: STAR
Land acquisition to set up land customs station (LCS) at Thegamukh under Barkal upazila is underway, opening up a new horizon in cross-border trade between Bangladesh and India.
Huge amount of government revenue will be earned by exporting medicines, cloths, ceramics items, melamine, chips, dried fishes, leather bags to India whereas timber, bamboo, cotton, sesame, turmeric, ginger and cattle could be imported from India through this port, said Santosh Kumar Chakma, chairman of Barkal upazila.
New sources of income will also be created as many indigenous people could be engaged in business or loading and unloading works, he added.
"We are facing serious crisis of raw materials. If the port is built, we will get cheap raw materials from India," said Jaharul Haque, managing director of Karnaphuli Paper Mills (KPM).
Meanwhile, sites on the both sides were selected near Thegamukh border outpost (BOP) for the proposed port. The two friendly neighbours will share one km each for the port, said Col Md Bashirul Islam, sector commander, Rangamati sector headquarters of BDR.
People of Thegamukh frontier, 125 kilometre away from the district headquarters, have been living in peace since the BOP was set up in 1949 as tension between Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) had never arose there, Bashirul added.
At present, water route is the only way of communication for the proposed port. Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) is, however, planning to construct a 60-kilometre road from Barkal upazila headquarters to Thega via Chhotohorina.
If the road is built, it will create easy road communication either for BDR as well as for the common people, rangamati LGED office sources said.
The government has already appointed five clearing and forwarding agents for loading and unloading goods at the port.
Atoching Marma, a karbari (village chief) of Thegamukh village, said they cannot export some highly demanded items to India. If the proposed port is built, it will connect some towns like Loonglai, Demaggree, Tobolabug and Ichol of India with Bangladesh.
"As far as I know file work is being progressed for setting up land port at Thegamukh," said home secretary while visiting Thegamukh BOP in Rangamati along with home minister on September 30.

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courtesy: dailystar.net

Mangal Kumar Chakma writes about recognition of the indigenous peoples of Bangladesh in the constitution.

Mangal Kumar Chakma writes about recognition of the indigenous peoples of Bangladesh in the constitution.

mongol kumar

Thursday, October 14, 2010

PCP marks 18th anniversary of death of Bharadwaj Moni-reported by chtnews.com

PCP marks 18th anniversary of death of Bharadwaj Moni

chtnews.com
News No. 147/2010, October 14, 2010

THE Hill Students Council (PCP), a front organization of the United
Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF), marked yesterday the 18th anniversary
of death of Bharadwaj Moni Chakma, who was killed during a settler
attack in Dighinala in 1992.

To mark the day, the PCP held a commemoration meeting and a candle
light vigil, and released fire balloons in his honour.

The commemoration meeting was held at an open space near his monument
in Dighinala Sadar Upazila at 11am.

Presided over by Alo Jibon Chakma, president of PCP Dighinala unit,
the meeting was also addressed, among others, by Bharadwaj Muni
Chakma’s son Doya Mohan Chakma, social worker Ripon Chakma, UPDF
leader Uday Chakma, DYF convenor Mithun Chakma, PCP president Aongay
Marma and HWF general secretary Konika Dewan.

Before the meeting, UPDF and its front organisations placed floral
wreaths at the altar of the monument of Bhradwaj Muni Chakma and
observed one minute’s silence.

Bharadwaj Muni Chakma is regarded as the first martyr in the
democratic movement of the Jumma people initiated by the PCP in the
late eighties.

He was 70 years old when he came to participate in a rally organised
by PCP in Dighinala in 1992.

The rally came under attack by illegal settlers which led to his death
on the spot.

At the commemoration meeting, the speakers said the hopes with which
Bharadwaj came to participate in the rally have not yet materialised.
“Our homeland is still under military occupation, and the settlers
continue to grab our lands.”

They accused the government of trying to destroy the full autonomy
movement of the UPDF.

“Eighteen years have passed since Bharadwaj Muni Chakma was murdered.
It is a shame that his killers still remain at large.” Mithun Chakma
said.

The speakers demanded that the government takes immediate action to
bring his killers to justice, withdraw the ban imposed on public
meetings and rallies in Khagrachari following the 23 February settler
attacks, declare CHT as a special autonomous area, withdraw the army
from CHT, provide constitutional recognition to the separate national
entity and customary land rights of the Jumma people and rehabilitate
the settlers outside the CHT.
.............................

source: chtnews.com

Govt obligated to carry out land survey directive Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury, chairman the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Settlement Comm

Govt obligated to carry out
land survey directive


Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury, chairman the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Settlement Commission, tells New Age

by Mustafizur Rahman

THE government is obligated to comply with the directive of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Settlement Commission for a land survey, its chairman, Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury, says.
‘The decisions that the commission has taken so far with regard to land survey and dispute settlement remain in force, and it is obligatory for the government and its relevant agencies to implement the decisions,’ he said in an exclusive interview with New Age on Tuesday.
Justice Chowdhury believes the survey will resolve land disputes in the hill tracts for ever. ‘Land survey is a must for effective and permanent solution to the long-standing problems in the region,’ he said.
The land commission was constituted in 2001 in line with the CHT agreement signed between the then government and the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti on December 2, 1997.
The accord recognises the Chittagong Hill Tracts as a region inhabited by the indigenous communities, and acknowledges its traditional governance system and the role of circle chief in the three hill districts of Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban.
Justice Chowdhury, who started his career as a lawyer in the High Court Division in 1996 and joined the bench in August 1999, joined the commission as its chairman for a three-year tenure in July 2009, after he had retired as a High Court judge in April 2009.
He hopes that the government would extend all-out cooperation to the commission in disposing of the land disputes in the hill tracts.
Justice Chowdhury says the commission is independent and its judgement over any land dispute is final. ‘The commission’s directives are binding for the government and its machinery,’ he added.
Excerpts of the interview:

What is your evaluation of the recent inter-ministry meeting on land survey and dispute settlement in Rangamati?
As far as I could gather from reports in the news media, the meeting could not arrive at any concrete decision on land survey or dispute settlement. The authority to take any decisions on these issues lies with the commission. However, officially, I was kept in the dark about the decision to convene the meeting. Simply put, I was completely bypassed.
Be that as it may, the decisions that the commission has taken so far with regard to land survey and dispute settlement remain in force, and it is obligatory for the government and its relevant agencies to implement the decisions. The commission’s judgement on any dispute is final.

Why do you think a land survey should be conducted first? Ethnic groups have demanded resolution of land disputes before any such survey in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
The land commission is empowered to order the authorities concerned to conduct a survey in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Hence, the question as to which should come first does not arise.
As per the law, the government is to resolve survey-related disputes. This is in no way in conflict with the authority of the commission, which is empowered to dispose disputes over the surveyed land. The survey did begin in 1986 but was suspended in 1988 after the abduction of two surveyors.

The people of the ethnic minority communities fear that they will lose ownership over land if demarcation of land through the survey takes place before settlement of land disputes. Is their fear justified?
Not at all. The survey is not conclusive. The title will be determined by the commission on evidence. It is a baseless fear that the people living in the area for generations will be displaced.

Leaders of the ethnic minority communities are of the opinion that any survey before resolution of land disputes would only complicate the situation.
A proper land survey, I believe, will actually help in expeditious resolution of disputes. It will remove the cause of disputes without any complications. The
The land disputes will be resolved for ever if a survey is conducted in the CHT region, which covers one-tenth of the total land of the country. Land survey is a must for effective and permanent solution to the long-standing problems.
How will the traditional rights of the ethnic minority communities to the CHT land be protected?
Traditional rights of ethnic minority communities in the CHT would be considered during the hearing of land disputes on the basis of rules and regulations.

The government decided, at the inter-ministry meeting, to expedite implementation of the CHT accord. How will it execute the decision?
I do not see any eagerness in local leaders about implementation of the CHT accord, which was the outcome of years of talks for peace in the region. If other members of the commission come up, the disputes would be resolved soon. There is no other alternative than to make the commission effective for expediting implementation of the CHT treaty signed between the government of Bangladesh and the Jana Sanghati Samiti on December 2, 1997.

The government has also agreed with the representatives of the CHT regional council to amend the land commission law. Is it necessary?
The present CHT Land Commission law in my view is exhaustive, complete and comprehensive in resolving land disputes, the major problem in the region. There is no undemocratic provision in the law which is a special enactment for the purpose of speedy disposal of the disputes in the CHT.

How many applications seeking dispute settlement are pending with you? Will it be possible for you to dispose of those applications during your tenure?
We have so far received around 4,500 applications seeking settlement of land disputes, of which 1,000 have been readied for disposal.
The commission will soon start the hearing of disputes and dispose of the appeals it has received so far. The judgement will be given on the basis of evidence available, subject to the land survey. We will not have to wait for the survey to deliver judgements. I am hopeful to resolve all the disputes in my tenure, which will expire in 2012.

You were not invited to the meeting on land survey and dispute settlement in Rangamati. Do you find any discord between the government and the commission?
It is very sad that as chairman of the commission I am unaware of the meeting on land survey and dispute settlement. This is against the basic rule of law. I hope that the government would expend full cooperation so that I could discharge my responsibilities. In the past one year or so, I have received all-out cooperation from the Prime Minister’s Office, ministries and all others concerned. Everyone feels that the commission should go ahead with the programmes we have taken so far.

You know that the previous chairmen could not make any headway in resolving the disputes. Do you have any success worth mentioning here?
The commission had been dysfunctional since beginning. Not a single dispute was settled in the past 10 years. But the present commission has held five meetings so far and also sat with the locals at the community level.
Through separate public announcements in March and May this year, the commission asked the affected landowners in the hill districts to appeal to the commission. Response from the people has been very good. We are still receiving applications for settling disputes. I hope that I will be able to complete the task during my tenure.
I call upon all concerned to come to the commission for settling the land disputes.

Will you continue in the position if you fail to discharge your responsibility or if the commission remains dysfunctional?
I do not contemplate any such situation. I will see if such a situation arises in future. I hope there will be no misunderstanding between the government and the commission.
The government should not do anything dishonourable for either itself or the commission.



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courtesy: Newagebd.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

Opinion-sharing meeting on Settlement of Land Dispute and Land Survey in CHT held in Rangamati

Opinion-sharing meeting on Settlement of Land Dispute and Land Survey in CHT held in Rangamati

On 10 October 2010 at 10.00 am a opinion-sharing meeting on Settlement of Land Dispute and Land Survey in CHT held in Rangamati chaired by the Land Minister Rezaul Karim Heera. The meeting was moderated by secretary of Land Ministry Mr. Ataur Islam while welcome address was delivered by Secretary of Ministry of CHT Affairs (MoCHTA) Mr. Masud Ahmed.

Barrister Raja Devasish Roy, Chakma Circle Chief was asked to speak first. He said that the CHT Accord narrates in the clause 2 of the Part Gha/4 that after the implementation of the Accord and rehabilitation of the refugees and internally displaced persons, the Government, in consultation with the Regional Council, is to take up the program for land survey in CHT and as per the Accord Land Commission is to settle land disputes and land survey is not the function of the Land Commission. He stressed to amend the CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act and pointed out that no lands or areas as per the Accord could be left outside the jurisdiction of the Land Commission.

Participating in the discussion, representative of Bohmong Circle Chief Mr. Chawhla Prue (Jimi) supported Raja Devasish Roy and demanded amendment in the Land Commission Act to accept representative of Bohmong Circle Chief in the Commission meeting as well.

Three HDCs Chairmen namely Khangrachari HDC’s chairman Mr. Kujendra Lal Tripura, Bandarban HDC’s chairman Mr. Kyew Chahla and Rangamati HDC’s chairman Mr. Nikhil Kumar Chakma also spoke in the meeting. They raised the issue of proper execution of the procedure of having prior approval of HDCs relating to transfer of lands in HDCs as cited in the CHT Accord and inserted in the section 64 of the HDC Acts. They touched the issue of granting lease by the Standing Committee headed by Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong Division.

Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma (Santu Larma), CHTRC Chairman told that 29 months of this GoB already passed over and no progress has yet held in the implementation of the Accord. Yet the people are waiting for execution of the issues of CHT Accord. With regard to settlement of land dispute and land survey very clearly stated that without the settlement of land disputes and rehabilitation of refugees and IDPs, land survey should not be done. That was not the function of the Land Commission. Yet the Land Commission’s Chairman, without holding meeting with the members of the Land Commission took up few steps, which created confusion among the masses and the process of land dispute settlement has been jeopardized. He worked as a political element against the Accord and settlement of land dispute. Hence, CHTRC sent letters to the GoB to dismiss him. He added that there should be congenial environment relating to law and order and general administration and economic development for which demilitarization of the administration in CHT was unavoidable. He demanded transfer of the subjects- Land and Management, Forest and Environment to the HDCs.

In his speech, Mr. Jatindra Lal Tripura, MP and Chairman, Task Force on Rehabilitation of Refugee Returnees and IDPs also supported to amend the Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act 2001 as per recommendation of CHTRC and to conduct land survey as per CHT Accord.

Mr. Bir Bahadur MP said that there should be practically some progress with regard to implementation of the Accord.

Mr. Dipankar Talukdar emphasised on implementation of the CHT Accord. He opined that there were some elements who all the time made attempts to create chaos and confusion in the region. He provided instance that when this meeting was scheduled to be held on today in Rangamati then the incident of killing was held in Rangamati (in the night of 8 October) and in another incident two persons were killed in Kassalong just yesterday (9 October).

Participating in the discussion, Goutam Kumar Chakma, Member and Convenor of Committee on Law, Land and Local Councils of CHT Regional Council (CHTRC) told that CHT Land Dispute Commission was to settle land disputes and then Land survey could be done as per the provision of the CHT Accord. The Land Commission is of 9-members to deal with the matters about functioning of the Commission and however, it is of 5-members Commission to settle land disputes as a Quasi-judicial body. The present Land Commission chairman did not follow the procedure so far that is why CHTRC took resolution and put recommendation to the GoB for dismissal of him. He opined that he went through the minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2010 chaired by Mr. Dipankar Talukdar, State Minister of MoCHTA on amendment of the CHT Land Settlement Dispute Act 2001 and found recorded the issues properly.

The State Minister of Land Ministry opined that there should be series of meeting on the issues of the CHT.

Mr. Rezaul Karim Heera, Land Minister and Chair of the meeting spoke that land survey would be held only after the settlement of land disputes. In this connection, he spoke that all the necessary legislation would be made and amended as per the clause 2 of the Part ka/1 of the CHT Accord. His ministry would implement all the concerned issues related to the Accord. He also opined that if necessary appointment of new chairman of the Land Commission would be considered. He said that he would inform all these issues to the Prime Minister for necessary consideration.

At the end of the meeting there held a short brief to the media persons.

The meeting was attended by, among others, Chandra Nath Basak Moitra, Joint Secretary & Director (land records, Directorate of Land Records and Survey, additional divisional commissioner (Revenue), officials from Land Ministry, MoCHTA, Law Ministry and Prime Minister’s office, Deputy Commission (DC) of Khagrachari & Bandarban and representative of DC of Rangamati, Mr. Krishna Chandra Chakma, Executive Officer in Charge of CHTRC and Mr. Bishwajit Chakma, APS to Chairman of CHTRC.


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source: PCJSS

Government agrees with the CHT Leaders to follow the "PEACE ACCORD" to settle land dispute first



Sunday, October 10, 2010

chtnews.com reports about three consecutive killing in the Hill.

Three Jummas killed separate incidents



THREE members of the rival factions of the Jana Samhati Samiti were
killed in the last two days in Rangamati district.

Abhilash Chakma, a member of the Santu Larma faction of the Jana
Samhati Samiti, was gunned down on Friday at his home in Kalyanpur, at
the heart of Rangamati town.

His assailants could not be identified. JSS (Santu) blamed the
incident on UPDF. However, Mikel Chakma of the DYF, a front
organisation of the UPDF, categorically denied his party’s involvement
in the killing.

Another source said until his death Abhilash Chakma had maintained
regular contact with the local leaders of the UPDF and transmitted the
JSS secrets to them.

“The Santu men might have somehow learnt about it and got him
finished.” the source said.

In another incident on Saturday, 9 October, two members of the M. N.
Larma faction of the Jana Samhati Samiti popularly known as reformists
were reportedly killed in an armed encounter with its rival faction in
Pablakhali village under Khedarmara Union in Baghaichari Upazila.

The dead have been identified as Mihir Kanti Chakma (40) and Enjoy
Chakma (28), according to a report released by sheershanews.com.

Both the factions are yet to give any statement on the incident.
.............................
source:

chtnews.com is an independent and voluntary online news service
dedicated to projecting and analyzing the current events in the
Chittagong Hill Tracts from the perspective of the Jumma people's
struggle for the right to self-determination. For further information
please contact at: chtnewsonline@gmail.com

Govt hesitant about CHT land survey 4,500 appeals received for settlement of land disputes- reported by NewAgeBD



Govt hesitant about CHT land survey
4,500 appeals received for settlement of land disputes

Mustafizur Rahman

The government is in a dilemma over initiating a land survey in the hill districts of Khagrachhari, Bandarban and Rangamati while over 4,500 disputes over land filed with the Land Commission still remain pending.
The land ministry has convened an inter-ministry meeting to be held today (Sunday) in Rangamati with representatives of the regional council and other stakeholders to try to remove the deadlock in the dispute settlement process.
The ethnic people in the hill districts have long been demanding settlement of the land disputes before the initiation of any land survey, said officials in the local administration.
‘The meeting will be open for discussions on any issues related to CHT lands…We want to create an environment of confidence to facilitate the solution of the land-related problems through discussions with all the stakeholders,’ land secretary Md Ataharul Islam told New Age on Saturday.
Land minister Rezaul Karim Hira is scheduled to be present as chief guest while state minister for CHT affairs Dipankar Talukdar will chair the meeting.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Settlement Commission had earlier asked the government to conduct a land survey in the hill districts to help settle the numerous land disputes that are causing conflict between ethnic people and Bengali settlers.
‘We have so far received around 4,500 applications seeking settlement of land disputes, of which 1,000 have been readied for disposal. We are taking time to see whether the government initiates the land survey,’ chairman of the CHT Land Commission Khademul Islam Chowdhury told New Age.
The disputes could be settled easily once the land survey was conducted in the CHT, home to various ethnic groups, he claimed.
Through separate public announcements in March and May this year, the Land Commission asked the affected landowners in the hill districts to appeal to the commission.
The land ministry on 11 March, 2010 deferred the inter-ministry meeting on the CHT land survey after the representatives of the CHT regional council and district councils refused to attend the meeting until the disputes were settled. The ministry then decided to hold the meeting in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in mid-April to work out the modalities of the survey, but failed to do so.
The chairman of Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council, Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, better known as Santu Larma, asked the government in writing in early March to settle the land disputes before launching any survey.
The leaders of the ethnic minorities, as per the 1997 CHT accord, were supposed to help the Land Commission, constituted in 2001, in settling the disputes over land, said an official.
The chairman of the commission said that they had held a series of meetings last year and also told the land ministry to initiate steps for land survey, which originally began in 1986 and was suspended in 1988 after the abduction of two surveyors.
‘Land disputes cannot be settled without classification and specification of lands…The land administration here cannot function effectively as the areas are yet to be surveyed for proper demarcation,’ said Khademul, a retired judge who was appointed as the commission’s chief in July 2009.
He said that the authorities had conducted several land surveys in all the areas of the country except the hill districts which cover one-tenth of the total land of the country.

Manusher Jonno Foundation and Kaapeng Foundation jointly organised the discussion titled 'Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous People: Context and

Manusher Jonno Foundation and Kaapeng Foundation jointly organised the discussion titled 'Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous People: Context and Relevance' at Cirdap Auditorium on 7th October 2010.

Presentation on 07 Oct 2010

News in national dailies about the discussion held
at Cirdap Auditorium:

----------------------

New Age, 8 October 2010

Govt urged to recognise ethnic minorities in constitution

Politicians, jurists and academics at a discussion on Thursday called on the government to incorporate provisions for distinctive identity and rights of the ethnic minority communities in the constitution, now in the process of being amended, after the annulment of the fifth and seventh amendments.

They said if Bangladesh wanted to be identified as an inclusive, pluralistic democratic country, all the 45 small ethnic groups would need to be recognised in the constitution along with their custom, language and cultural distinction.

They came up with the views at the discussion on the ‘context of constitutional recognition to the adivasis and its relevance’ organised by the Kapaeeng Foundation and the Manusher Jonno Foundation in the CIRDAP auditorium.

They suggested implementation of all clauses of the CHT accord in full and announcement of a clear process and timeline for the job and establishment of agencies and departments needed to effectively implement the accord.

Mangal Kumar Chakma, adviser to the Kapaeeng Foundation, read out the keynote paper where he demanded constitutional recognition of all small ethnic groups, recognition of their traditional ownership to land and their representation in policy-making bodies to bring an end to the existing disparity they were facing.

Former Supreme Court judge Golam Rabbani, who presided over the discussion, requested the government to recognise ethnic minorities in the constitution by bringing about a new amendment. He also asked the CHT land dispute resolution commission to understand that ethnic minority people believe in social ownership of land.

The Workers Party of Bangladesh president, Rashed Khan Menon, said movements demanding constitutional recognition should be made strengthened and the government should ensure their rights in keeping with its electoral pledges.

Gana Forum presidium member Pankaj Bhattacharya said the image of the government would be brightened if it would recognise ethnic minorities in the constitution.

Journalist Syed Abul Maksud, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad president Ayesha Khanam, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum general secretary Sanjeeb Drong, Adivasi Forum organising secretary Shaktipada Tripura, Dhaka University teacher Obaidul Haque, rights activist Rosaline Costa, researcher Partha Shankar Saha and Tandra Chakma also joined the discussion conducted by Rabindranath Soren.

=========

The Daily Star, 8 October 2010

Court has nothing to do with constitutional amendments

Says Menon

Terming the debate over amendment of the constitution "unnecessary," Workers Party of Bangladesh President Rashed Khan Menon MP yesterday said only the parliament has the authority to amend it.

“Only the parliament can amend the constitution and the court has nothing to do with amendment to the constitution, it (the court) has just declared the martial law proclamations illegal,” he said while addressing a discussion on the constitutional recognition of indigenous community.

Almost everybody is getting involved in an "unnecessary debate" over the amendment, said Menon, also a member of the special committee of the parliament for constitutional amendment.

He said the indigenous community should be recognised in the constitution.

“Indigenous people do not want to identify themselves as tribal rather want to be termed indigenous people and the matter should be settled after discussion with them," he said.

Manusher Jonno Foundation and Kaapeng Foundation jointly organised the discussion titled 'Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous People: Context and Relevance' at Cirdap Auditorium in the city.

Mangal Kumar Chakma, adviser of Kaapeng Foundation, presented the keynote paper.

Columnist and researcher Syed Abul Maksud said the indigenous people would get their rights of self-identity through recognition in the constitution.

The indigenous people should be recognised in the constitution after discussion with all concerned in such a way so that no controversy can arise in the future, he said.

Shaktipada Tripura, organising secretary of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS), said no one can say indigenous people as "tribal" as the community is termed "ethnic minority" in the law, passed by the government recently, about the cultural institutions of indigenous people.

Both the constitutional recognition of the indigenous people and at the same time its implementation is important, he said.

Sanjib Drong, general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, said before including the provisions about indigenous community in the constitution, discussions should be organised with the representatives of the indigenous people.

Pankaj Bhattacharya, vice president of Sammilito Shamajik Andolan and Ayesha Khanam, president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, also spoke at the discussion chaired by Justice Ghulam Rabbani.



-----------------------------

courtesy: Kaapeng Foundation.

"CHT VOICE "-E-mouthpiece of the PCJSS's (MN LARMA) statement on the killing of two people at Pablakhali village of Khedarmara Union, Baghaychari upoz

"CHT VOICE "-E-mouthpiece of the PCJSS's (MN LARMA) statement on the killing of two people at Pablakhali village of Khedarmara Union, Baghaychari upozila

--------

Within 36 hours of killing of Abhilash Chakma at Rangamati town there has been a fresh killing in Madhyam Pablakhali village under Baghaichari Upazila today at 2.30 pm. It has been reported that two villagers, Mihirlal Chakma (40) of Madhyam Pablakhali and Kala Chakma (26) of Perachara of Khedarmara Union have been gunned down by a group of 16 armed body. It has been alleged that the body went from Sarbotoli with two engine boats under the command of Touhid, Niloy and Bara Rishi.

We've no language to denounce the ongoing killings in the CHT. We would like to believe that these killings basically are because of violent politics and hence the concerned political partis can stop these killings. Therefore, we call upon the concerned political leaders to direct their political agenda taking the strength of Jumma people in their confidence. We are ready to volunteer our credibility for halting these unlawfull and fruitless killings.


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sent to us by: "CHT VOICE"-E- mouthpiece of PCJSS (M. N. LARMA)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord: Quick Implementation is Necessary" - Prothom-Alo round table discussion held on 30th September 2010



"Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord: Quick Implementation is Necessary" - Prothom-Alo round table discussion held on 30th September 2010.

"CHT VOICE "-E-mouthpiece of the PCJSS (MN LARMA) reports about Obhilash Chakma Killing

"CHT VOICE "-E-mouthpiece of the PCJSS (MN LARMA) reports about Obhilash Chakma Killing:

"CHT VOICE" report:
----------------------------

Former UPDF leader shot dead at a pelting distance from Shantu Larma's residence:

Abhilash Chakma (38), a former UPDF leader who quitted UPDF in 2005 and declared solidarity with Santu Larma at CHT Regional Council’s rest house at Banani, Dhaka was shot dead today at 03.00 hrs at his rented home at Kalyanpur, Rangamati. Abhilash whose native village is at Bhuio Adam, under Ghilachari Union of Naniachar Upazila of Rangamati Hill District has been working for the Santu Larma’s JSS for a few years and has been entrusted with the responsiblity of recovering Naniachar Upazila from the hands of UPDF. Abhilash was an accused in the case of abduction of 3 foreigners of Danida supported road project.

On the night of the killing he was sleeping at his rented home with his wife. Taking the advantage of continuous heavy rain the assailants conducted the killing which is hardly 250 yards away from Santu Larma’s official residence. It has been learnt that the attackers forced his brother-in-law open the door and 3 attackers who entered the house shot from point blank distance at his forehead and head from the side.

Army personnel with a van and also police including agency personnel rushed to the spot and the body was taken to hospital and the doctors declared him dead. His body was cremated today at Rangamati. The Santu Larma’s JSS and the PCP (Hill Students Council) staged protest at Rangamati to condemn the killing.

Actually, political violence was started at Rangamati since 25 Februaray 2009 with the attempt on life of late Chandra Sekhar Chakma (former JSS General Secretary) followed by Anshuman Chakma, Pragati Chakma and many more. We strongly denounce the killing of Abhilash Chakma and oppose all kinds of political killings and call upon concerned all to restrain from all political violence. Political violence will not bring any good for any quarters. The attackers should be brought to book for justice and for maintaining law and order.


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courtesy: "CHT VOICE"-E- mouthpiece of PCJSS (M. N. LARMA)

Please sign the following petition made by Amnesty International to call on Bangladesh to ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant o

Dear all,

Please sign the following petition made by Amnesty International to call on Bangladesh to ratify the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Click here to sign the petition

Together, we can ensure access to justice for all human rights and reduce poverty.


Your signature will be added to the petition that will be sent to the President of Bangladesh.

Please forward this to your friends and colleagues and request them to sign the petition at http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/op-icescr/bd to make a real difference which will strengthen the legal recognition and implementation of economic, social and cultural rights in Bangladesh and around the world.

Click here to read the petition in Bangla

Friday, October 8, 2010

Govt urged to recognise ethnic minorities in constitution

Govt urged to recognise ethnic
minorities in constitution

Staff Correspondent

Politicians, jurists and academics at a discussion on Thursday called on the government to incorporate provisions for distinctive identity and rights of the ethnic minority communities in the constitution, now in the process of being amended, after the annulment of the fifth and seventh amendments.
They said if Bangladesh wanted to be identified as an inclusive, pluralistic democratic country, all the 45 small ethnic groups would need to be recognised in the constitution along with their custom, language and cultural distinction.
They came up with the views at the discussion on the �context of constitutional recognition to the adivasis and its relevance� organised by the Kapaeeng Foundation and the Manusher Jonno Foundation in the CIRDAP auditorium.
They suggested implementation of all clauses of the CHT accord in full and announcement of a clear process and timeline for the job and establishment of agencies and departments needed to effectively implement the accord.
Mangal Kumar Chakma, adviser to the Kapaeeng Foundation, read out the keynote paper where he demanded constitutional recognition of all small ethnic groups, recognition of their traditional ownership to land and their representation in policy-making bodies to bring an end to the existing disparity they were facing.
Former Supreme Court judge Golam Rabbani, who presided over the discussion, requested the government to recognise ethnic minorities in the constitution by bringing about a new amendment. He also asked the CHT land dispute resolution commission to understand that ethnic minority people believe in social ownership of land.
The Workers Party of Bangladesh president, Rashed Khan Menon, said movements demanding constitutional recognition should be made strengthened and the government should ensure their rights in keeping with its electoral pledges.
Gana Forum presidium member Pankaj Bhattacharya said the image of the government would be brightened if it would recognise ethnic minorities in the constitution.
Journalist Syed Abul Maksud, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad president Ayesha Khanam, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum general secretary Sanjeeb Drong, Adivasi Forum organising secretary Shaktipada Tripura, Dhaka University teacher Obaidul Haque, rights activist Rosaline Costa, researcher Partha Shankar Saha and Tandra Chakma also joined the discussion conducted by Rabindranath Soren.


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courtesy: newagebd (http://www.newagebd.com/2010/oct/08/nat.html) and news forwarded to us by chtvoice.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Reports published in national dailies on The CHT Commission (CHTC) released press statement

Report from "The daily star":

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Metropolitan

Include indigenous people's rights in constitution

Suggests CHT Commission

The International Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Commission recommends explicit recognition of the distinctive identity, culture and rights of the indigenous people in the constitution.

This was one of the advices from a five-point recommendation that the commission placed before the government in a press statement yesterday.

The commission disclosed its recommendations with a hope that the government and other concerned parties would take immediate steps to implement the advices.

The recommendations are based on findings that come out following the commission's visit to the CHT area last month.

In the list, the commission suggested a high level independent enquiry to make a detailed and impartial investigation into the arson attacks and killings in Baghaihat and Khagrachhari town in February 2010.

It also recommended amendment of CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act 2001 in accordance with the articles of the CHT Accord and the recommendations forwarded by the regional council.

The commission also advised a phased withdrawal of temporary military camps from the region in accordance with the CHT Accord to restore normalcy and full civilian administration in the region.

It also advised on implementation of all clauses of the CHT Accord with a clear process and timeline.

The CHT Commission conducted the mission to Bangladesh from September 4 to 10 including a visit to the CHT region.

Its purpose was to assess the overall political developments related to the CHT Accord and follow up on issues raised in the commission's memo to the prime minister following its visit to the region in June 2010.

The commission has been heartened by the prime minister's repeated assurances that full implementation of the accord is a personal commitment on her side. But there is concern from various groups about the slow progress of implementation in general and the controversial activities of the land commission in particular, read the press statement.

There has been no headway in initiating an independent investigation into the February arson attacks in Baghaihat and Khagrachhari though some ministers assured the commission members of such.

The ministers said there would be an inter-ministerial meeting and subsequently a series of meetings to bridge the misunderstandings amongst the different parties, the commission observed.

There still seems to be disagreement between the administration and the indigenous leaders about whether to first carry out a land survey or settle the disputes pertaining to land, the press statement adds.

All indigenous political and citizen's groups of the CHT region renewed their demands for incorporating provisions on their distinctive identity and rights in the constitution ahead of expected constitutional amendments.

The mission members visited Rangamati and Khagrachhari and spoke to various civil society and political groups and enquired about the current situation.

The indigenous groups from the Baghaihat-Sajek area informed the commission members that there had been no further arson attacks and violence upon them after the incidents of February 2010.

However, they claimed that the army has been constantly keeping watch and harassing them since then.

Three Co-Chairs of the CHT Commission Eric Avebury, Sultana Kamal and Ida Nicolaisen were signatories to the press statement.

--------------------

Report drom "NewAge":

CHT commission urges govt to
ensure distinctive identity,
rights of ethnic minorities

Staff Correspondent

The Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission on Tuesday urged the government for incorporating provisions on the distinctive identity and rights of the ethnic minority communities in the planned constitutional amendments after annulment of the fifth and seventh amendments to the constitution.

After visiting the hill districts in September the commission in its report cited the concern raised by different groups in the region over implementation of proposed action plans and recommendations for the CHT through the establishment of a ‘Strategic Management Forum’, as reported in the national press with reference to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The mission members visited Rangamati and Khagrachhari between September 4 and 10 and spoke to various civil society and political groups and enquired about the current situation.

The commission referred to the most worrying concern on the ethnic people over the counter-productive outcomes of the functioning of the land commission under its present chairman.
‘There are still strong objections and misunderstanding among the indigenous groups regarding the way in which the Land Commission has been made to operate unilaterally by its Chairman, without the participation and consent of the Commission’s Pahari members,’ the report said.
‘The indigenous groups fear that if a survey is carried out before the settlement of the disputes arising from illegal occupation of their lands, most of the indigenous people will become landless as many of them do not have formal documents pertaining to rights to the lands that they have been occupying under customary law.

Leaders of the indigenous people of Bandarban told the Commission about their experience of being evicted from their lands as well as their apprehensions about potential evictions in the future. They reported hearing about plans by the armed forces to build tourist resorts on a large stretch of lands over which the indigenous people have held customary rights for many generations, the report said.

‘All the civil society groups spoken to in the CHT and in Dhaka expressed high expectations from the present Awami League government, but at the same time said that the non-implementation of many critical clauses of the accord as yet has resulted in deep disappointment amongst them,’ the report said.

The commission urged the government to institute a high-level independent investigation of the arson attacks and killings in Baghaihat of Rangamati and in Khagrachari town on February 19-23 this year.
‘The commission also called for thoroughly examining the allegations that the acts of violence had taken place in the presence of security forces and law enforcement personnel and bringing persons responsible to book,’ the commission said.
The commission called for undertaking a phased withdrawal of temporary military camps in the region in accordance with the CHT accord, so as to restore normalcy and full civilian administration in the region, including the unfettered role of the CHT-specific institutions like the Regional Council, the Hill District Councils, and the traditional institutions of the Chiefs, Headmen and Karbaris.

The commission suggested implementation of all clauses of the CHT accord in full and declare a clear process and timeline for doing so, and establish the agencies and departments necessary for the effective implementation of the accord.


------------------------

The CHT Commission (CHTC) releases a press statement based on its recent Mission to Bangladesh from 4th to 10th September

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Press Statement

The International CHT Commission (CHTC)[1] conducted a mission to Bangladesh from 4 to 10 September 2010, including a visit to the Chittagong Hill Tracts[2]. The purpose of the mission was to assess the overall political developments related to the CHT Accord and follow up on issues raised in the CHTC’s memo to the Prime Minister following its visit to the CHT in June 2010 (June memo appended).

Although the CHTC has been heartened by the Prime Minister’s repeated assurances that the full implementation of the Accord is a personal commitment on her side, there is concern from various groups about the slow progress of implementation in general and the controversial activities of the Land Commission in particular.

Before the visit to the CHT, some of the Mission members met with the Minister for CHT Affairs, the Minister for Land, the Minister for Law and the Minister for Foreign Affairs to discuss the current state of affairs. The Ministers acknowledged that the work of the Land Commission is at a standstill and CHTC members were informed that there would be an inter-ministerial meeting, and subsequently a series of meetings to bridge the misunderstandings amongst the different parties. There has been no headway in initiating an independent investigation into the February arson attacks in Baghaihat and Khagrachhari and CHTC members were not informed as to whether there was anything imminent. There still seems to be disagreement between the administration and the Pahari leaders about whether to first carry out a land survey or settle the disputes pertaining to land. As a review of the Constitution is currently on-going, the Mission members raised the issue of constitutional recognition of the indigenous peoples. There seems to be divergent views on the acceptance of the term ‘indigenous peoples’ within the government. However, in this regard, the CHTC recalls that Bangladesh has ratified the ILO’s Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957 (No. 107) earlier, which implies that it has already accepted that the Convention applies to the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

In view of the annulment of the fifth and seventh amendments to the Bangladesh Constitution, and the government’s interest in reverting back to the secular spirit of the 1972 constitution, all Pahari political and citizen’s groups of the CHT have renewed their demands for incorporating provisions on their distinctive identity and rights in the expected constitutional amendments.

The mission members visited Rangamati and Khagrachhari and spoke to various civil society and political groups and enquired about the current situation. A list of all the groups contacted is appended below.

All the civil society groups spoken to in the CHT and in Dhaka expressed high expectations from the present Awami League government but at the same time said that the non-implementation of many critical clauses of the Accord as yet has resulted in deep disappointment amongst them.

Lawyers from the three Hill districts informed the mission members that there has been a lot of irregularities, including use of fraudulent signatures of government officials on important issues. Giving examples of rubber plantation leases that have been approved or re-activated by the Hill District Administration, the lawyers explained how a lot of irregularities in the process of authorization have taken place. Leaders of the Movement for Forest and Land Rights in the CHT also brought up various incidents of land fraud by non-resident and non-local individuals and organizations. The Pahari groups stressed that land administration matters need to be immediately transferred from the Deputy Commissioner’s office to the Hill Districts Council, as per the 1997 CHT Accord. The groups also argued that until the Hill Districts Council elections were held as per the Accord, many of the problems of land dispossession of the indigenous peoples would continue.

The most worrying concern on the indigenous peoples’ minds has been the counterproductive outcomes of the functioning of the Land Commission under its present Chairman. There are still strong objections and misunderstandings among the indigenous groups regarding the way in which the Land Commission has been made to operate unilaterally by the Chairman, without the participation and consent of the Commission’s Pahari members. The indigenous groups fear that if a survey is carried out before the settlement of disputes arising from illegal occupation of their lands, most of the indigenous people will become landless as many of them do not have formal documents pertaining to rights to the lands that they have been occupying under customary law. Leaders of the indigenous peoples of Bandarban told the Commission about their experience of being evicted from their lands as well as their apprehensions about potential evictions in the future. They reported hearing about plans by the armed forces to build tourist resorts on a large scale on lands over which the indigenous peoples have held customary rights for many generations.

Concerns were also raised about implementation of proposed action plans and recommendations for the CHT through the establishment of a ‘Strategic Management Forum’, as reported in the national press (5 July 2010) with reference to the Prime Minister’s Office.

While the CHTC mission members were about to hold a discussion with Pahari groups on 9 September 2010 at the Upajati Thikadar Samity building in Khagrachhari, several police and military intelligence officials attempted to come inside the meeting room. The mission members objected to their presence since this would intimidate the Paharis and would also constrain them from speaking openly and frankly to the Commission. However, these agencies still insisted on keeping the door of the meeting room ajar and positioning one of their members just outside the door to observe the Commission’s discussion with Pahari participants and take notes. They also wanted the Commission to give them the names and addresses of the Paharis attending these meetings, but this demand was firmly resisted.

The Pahari groups from the Baghaihat-Sajek area informed the mission members that there had been no further arson attacks and violence upon them after the incidents of February 2010. However, the army has been constantly keeping watch and harassing them since then. The indigenous people reported being intimidated by the continued surveillance of army patrols through all hours of the night. They are still not being allowed to take their produce directly by river to their preferred markets. Instead, they alleged that army personnel are forcing them to download their goods from their boats at Baghaihat bazaar and employ Bengali settlers to re-load their goods on surface transport for onward transshipment. All sections of the indigenous peoples of the CHT expressed their sense of increased insecurity arising from the decision to deploy the much-feared Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) to the region, over and above the continuing military surveillance and intimidation to which they are already subject.

Recommendations

In view of the findings of the mission, the CHT Commission recommends that the following actions be taken immediately by the government and other concerned parties:

Include provisions in the Constitution of Bangladesh during its expected amendment which would give explicit recognition to the distinctive identity, culture and rights of the indigenous peoples.

Institute a high level independent enquiry to make a detailed and impartial investigation into the arson attacks and killings in Baghaihat and Khagrachhari town in February 2010.

Amend the CHT Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act 2001 in accordance with the articles of the CHT Accord and the recommendations put forward by the Regional Council, and ensure that all future decisions of the Land Commission are made with the agreement of Pahari leaders who are members of the Commission.

Undertake a phased withdrawal of temporary military camps in the region in accordance with the CHT Accord, so as to restore normalcy and full civilian administration in the region, including the unfettered role of the CHT-specific institutions: the Regional Council, the Hill District Councils, and the traditional institutions of the Chiefs, Headmen and Karbaris.

Implement all clauses of the CHT Accord in full and declare a clear process and timeline for doing so, and establish the agencies and departments necessary for the effective implementation of the Accord.

On behalf of the CHT Commission

Eric Avebury, Co-chair of the CHT Commission
Sultana Kamal, Co-chair of the CHT Commission
Ida Nicolaisen, Co-chair of the CHT Commission

------------------

List of persons and agencies with whom meetings were held by CHTC members:

Minister for CHT Affairs, Mr. Dipankar Talukdar

Minister for Land, Mr. Rezaul Karim Hira

Minister for Law, Barrister Shafique Ahmed

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Dipu Moni

German Deputy Head of Mission, Mr. Rolf Dieter Reinhard

Dutch Deputy Head of Mission, Ms Doris Voorbraak, and the Political Secretary, Ms Anja Roelofs.

Swedish Ambassador, Ms Anneli Lindahl Kenny

Danish Ambassador, Mr. Svend Olling

CHT Regional Council Chairman, Mr. Jyotirindro Bodhipriyo Larma

Chakma Circle Chief, Raja Devasish Roy

Jana Samhati Samity (JSS)

Bangladesh Adibashi Forum General Secretary, Sanjeeb Drong

Civil society of Khagrachhari

CHT Citizen’s Committee

Movement for Forest and Land Rights in the CHT

United Peoples Democratic Front (UPDF)

Somo Odhikar Andolon, Rangamati

Bhumi Rakkha Committee, Sajek

Sajek Nari Samaj

Adibashi Odhikar Shongrakkhon Committee

Lawyers from Khagrachhari, Rangamati and Bandarban



[1] The CHTC has the following mandate: “To promote respect for human rights, democracy and restoration of civil and judicial rights in the CHT in Bangladesh, including examination of the implementation of the CHT Accord of 1997. The CHT Commission will build on the work by the first CHT Commission. (1990-2001).” The CHTC is composed of concerned experts from inside and outside Bangladesh. The members are (in alphabetical order): Dr. Shapan Adnan; Lord Eric Avebury (CHT Commission co-chair), Vice-Chair Parliamentary Human Rights Group, UK; Mr. Lars Anders Baer, Former President of The Sami Parliament, Sweden; Ms. Victoria Tauli Corpuz, former Chair, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; Mr. Robert Evans, Member of the European Parliament; Ms. Sara Hossain, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh; Professor Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, Shahjalal University, Science and Technology, Sylhet, Bangladesh; Ms. Sultana Kamal (CHT Commission co-chair); Dr. Ida Nicolaisen (CHT Commission co-chair), Senior Researcher, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, Denmark; Mr. Lee Swepston, former Senior Advisor on Human Rights of the International Labour Organisation (ILO); Mr. Hideaki Uemura, President, Shimin Gaikou Centre, Japan.

[2] Participants in this CHTC mission during 4-10 September 2010 included: Dr. Shapan Adnan, member of the CHT Commission; Mr. Lars-Anders Baer, member of CHT Commission; Ms. Christina Nilsson, coordinator of the international secretariat and Ms. Hana Shams Ahmed, coordinator of the local secretariat of the CHTC.




Reports from national dailies on "Indigenous students convention" held in Dhaka on 4th October.



The above news was published on "prothom-alo" and the following news was published on "the daily star"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Metropolitan

Adivasi Chhatra-Jubo Convention held

Constitutional recognition to Adivasis demanded

People from different indigenous communities bring out a rally from Dhaka University yesterday on the occasion of Jatiya Adivasi Chhatra-Jubo Convention 2010.Photo: STAR

Speakers at the Jatiya Adivasi Chhatra-Jubo Convention yesterday urged the government to give constitutional recognition to the indigenous communities and satisfy their other democratic demands.

They also called upon the indigenous people to continue movement to realise their rights during the period of the incumbent government.

Youths from different indigenous communities organised the convention at the base of Aparajeyo Bangla of Dhaka University.

The speakers said a vested quarter is interested to create chaos all the time in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) to gain their political and economical benefits.

Justice Ghulam Rabbani cited his own definition of Adivasi -- people who are out of the influence of Bengali culture but belong to different cultures -- and recommended inclusion of this new definition in the constitution.

Reshed Khan Menon, chairman of the parliamentary caucus on indigenous affairs, said indigenous communities will be named as Adivasi instead of “ethnic minority groups” in the constitution.

Jatindra Lal Tripura, chairman of CHT Refugee Affairs Taskforce, asked the indigenous people to continue movement until their democratic demands and rights are fulfilled.

DU teachers Prof Dalem Chandra Barman, Prof Mezbah Kamal, and Prof HK Arfin, among others, spoke at the session.

Students of tribal communities also brought out a colourful procession with banner, festoons and placards and marched through the campus.

At least 16 tribal youths' organisations participated in the convention, also organising a separate discussion at DU Teachers Students Centre (TSC) auditorium on the rights of indigenous people.


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Reports from national dailies-"Indigenous students form human chain demanding constitutional recognition"



Above report was published on prothom-alo.

---------------------------------------------------

Report from "Newage" about the human chain:



Ethnic minority students
demand 5pc quota in jobs

DU Correspondent


Ethnic minority students on Sunday called upon the government to ensure their quota in government jobs.

Santal Students Union made the call from a human chain at the base of Aparajeya Bangla to press home their five-point demand.

The union president, Grenar Soren, general secretary of Hill Tracts Student Union Nitol Chakma and other university students took part in the human chain.

Nitol Chakma said the existing job quota for Santal has become meaningless as only one of their men was recruited as assistant teacher while 18 were to get the job according to the quota as the number of posts was 229 in Chapinawab-gang this year.

He also stressed the necessity of constitutional recognition for the ethnic minorities in order to build Bangladesh as a country of cultural harmony.

They also cited the Chapainawabgang police constable recruitment test held on September 25, where the authorities did not follow the quota for the ethnic minority people.

They urged the government to recognise the ethnic minority people constitutionally, ensure five per cent quota in government jobs, give exemplary punishment of their land grabbers, ensure their rights and dignity, recruit their men as assistant teacher and police constable in Chapainawab-ganj according to the five per cent quota.