EQUAL BANGLADESH FOR ALL CITIZENS: IMPLEMENT 1997 CHT ACCORD
Invitation to join the demonstration outside the UN Headquarters, a day before Mr. Lars Anders Baer, former member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, presents his “Study on the status of implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord of 1997” at the United Nations.
Tuesday, May 24 · 1:00pm - 3:00pm
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza,
E 47th Street & 1st Avenue,
New York, NY
You are cordially invited to a demonstration outside the UN Headquarters, a day before Mr. Lars Anders Baer, former member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, presents his “Study on the status of implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord of 1997” at the United Nations.
Pls come show your SOLIDARITY in this demonstration focusing on two issues of crucial concern to the indigenous peoples of Bangladesh:
(i) Full implementation of the 1997 CHT Accord, which ended the civil war in Chittagong Hill Tracts
(ii) Recognition of the Indigenous Peoples in the Bangladesh Constitution, rectifying omission in the 1972 Constitution.
(i) The signing of the CHT Accord in 1997, between the Bangladesh government and the JSS (political wing of the Shanti Bahini guerrillas), ended more than twenty years of armed conflict in the CHT. The accord provided for removal of army camps, rehabilitation of war refugees, devolution of authority to CHT-specific autonomous institutions, and the resolution of land disputes caused by settler policy that brought in Bengalis from the plainlands. Although the indigenous people's guerilla army laid down their arms and ended their war, the Bangladesh military still controls the region, and most provisions of the 1997 Accord remain unimplemented. In this vacuum, unlawful killings, rape, arson, land grabbing and other forms of human rights violations by state security forces and Bengali settlers, with state complicity continues.
(ii) Since the United Nations and other international bodies have begun working on Indigenous Peoples (IP) issues, the Bangladesh government has had a complicated relationship with this concept. Government officials in the current Bangladesh government, and the previous government, have openly stated “Bangladesh has no indigenous people”. These statements are driven by a popular misconception, fueled by the media, that providing constitutional recognition to indigenous peoples will somehow reduce the rights of the majority Bengali people. Processes are ongoing to amend the 1972 constitution of Bangladesh. However, the government is refusing to include Indigenous Peoples' identity and rights in the new constitution. Moreover, government officials continue to use terms like “small ethnic groups”, which IP advocates have repeatedly stated they find limiting and offensive.
The rally will draw attention to the demand for full implementation of the 1997 CHT Accord, and inclusion of Indigenous Peoples' Identity & Rights in the Bangladesh Constitution.
International Jumma Organization
in association with
Friends of Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh