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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Non-implementation of CHT accord is a shame: roundtable

Non-implementation of CHT accord is a shame: roundtable


May 03, 2011

image Lawmaker Rashed Khan Menon addresses a roundtable on constitutional recognition and rights of the ethnic minorities of the country at a city hotel on Sunday. — New Age photo

Staff correspondent 

Lawmakers of the Awami League and its allied parties on Monday expressed regret for not implementing the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord 1997.

They said it was a shame for them that no pragmatic step has been taken in the last 13 years for the implementation of the peace treaty which brought an end to decades of conflict.

They made the remarks at a roundtable on ‘Human rights of indigenous people and ILO Convention 169: self-determination rights and constitutional recognition’, organised by Research and Development Collective at Hotel Sonargaon.

Chakma circle chief Raja Devashish Roy, while presenting the keynote paper, said that constitutional recognition of the ethnic communities was essential to ensure their protection.

The state has to be not only secular, but also impartial with regard to race and caste.

The chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the land ministry, AKM Mozammel Haque, said that disregarding the peace accord after signing it is nothing but self-contradiction.

It is deceitfulness that will compel the people of the CHT to distrust the Awami League, he said.
The Parbattya Chattagram Janasanghati Samity’s president, Jyotirindra Bodhipriyo Larma, popularly known as Santu Larma, pointed out that no significant measure has been taken by any government for implementing the accord.

‘I am not at all optimistic as 28 months have passed since the ruling party came to power for the second time and there is still no sign of implementing the accord. Rather, some decisions have been made which go against the CHT’s people,’ he told the roundtable supported by the International Labour Organisation and attended by a number of lawmakers and human rights activists.

He said that the present situation of the country’s indigenous people clearly proves the government’s failure to ensure democracy, secularism and progressiveness. ‘I think this oppression will continue even in the future,’ Santu added.

Emphasising the need for constitutional recognition of the ethnic minorities as indigenous, lawmaker Rashed Khan Menon said it was not possible to solve their problems overnight but there are some basic issues which need to be resolved immediately.

‘Constitutional recognition of them as indigenous people is a major issue,’ said Menon, who is also chairman of the parliamentary caucus on indigenous affairs.

Lawmaker Hasanul Haque Inu said, ‘The indigenous people will definitely be included in the Constitution, but the concern is not to identify them with an unscientific word.’ Regarding using the term ‘small anthropological group’ for ethnic minority, Inu said it does not mean anything as every individual belongs to one or other anthropological group.

National Human Rights Commission’s chairman Mizanur Rahman said that a ‘majority psyche’ was hindering the process of recognising the ethnic minorities as indigenous.

Lawmakers Shah Zikrul Ahmed and Noni Gopal Bhowmik, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum’s general secretary Sanjeeb Drong, and RDC’s general secretary Mesbah Kamal spoke on the occasion, along with others.

Courtesy: New Age

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