CHTC welcomes UNPFII recommendations
Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission has welcomed the recommendations of United Nations special rapporteur Lars-Anders Baer on ‘CHT Accord’ and ‘UN Peacekeeping’ related to the CHT region in Bangladesh.
The recommendations came following a study on the status of implementation of the CHT Accord of 1997 which was placed at the recently concluded 10th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, said a press release.
The co-chairs of the CHT commission Eric Avebury, Sultana Kamal and Ida Nicolaisen said these recommendations could help consolidate a just peace in the CHT and build trust between the indigenous peoples and the government of Bangladesh.
The CHTC also expressed concern over the statement submitted to the UNPFII through the Bangladesh mission where the government said that there were no Indigenous peoples in Bangladesh.
‘The accord has nothing to do with “indigenous issues”, and therefore the Government of Bangladesh reiterates its position that the forum, which is mandated to deal with ‘indigenous issues’, does not have any locus standi in discussing the issues related to CHT Peace Accord,’ the press release quoted government’s statement.
The CHTC noted that the government’s stance shows a lack of political will to implement an accord signed 14 years ago.
The commission mentioned that several Bangladeshi laws already recognize the indigenous peoples as ‘indigenous’ or ‘adibashi’, although this is not directly acknowledged in the constitution.
The CHTC agreed with the recommendations of the special rapporteur that the UN should develop a mechanism to screen human rights violations committed by military personnel and prevent alleged human rights violators from participating in international peacekeeping activities, the release said.
The CHTC also urged the government to implement the accord and cooperate to maintain the ‘integrity of Bangladesh’s contribution’ to UN Peacekeeping forces.
The UNPFII at its closing meeting on May 27, adopted Baer’s recommendations including full implementation of the accord with specific timeline and modalities, prevention of Bangladesh military personnel and units involved in human rights violations of indigenous peoples from participating in UN peacekeeping duties and establishment of independent and impartial commissions of enquiry to address human rights violations against indigenous peoples in the CHT.