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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bangladesh Govt urged to conduct investigations into allegations of human rights violations in CHT

International watchdog Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission on Saturday called on the government to investigate allegations of human rights violations in the hill districts, activate the land commission and implement the 1997 CHT Accord.

The commission in a statement reminded the Awami League-led alliance government of its election pledge of full implementation of the 1997 deal and drew the government’s attention to the growing allegations of violations of rights of hill people, including attempts at grabbing their land and physical torture.

The commission cited allegations of attempts at grabbing the land of the Khyang community at Gungru Mukh Para in Bandarban and of the Marma community at Ramgarh in Khagrachari by Bengali settlers.

The commission believed that it was crucial for the government to activate the CHT land dispute settlement commission after correcting the flaws in the 2001 act and to appoint a chairperson who understand of the history of the CHT and the significance of community-owned land of hill people and believes in their rights to maintain their distinct social, economic or political systems for an acceptable resolution to land disputes.

The CHT commission after interaction with the incumbent land commission chief has found him to be biased towards the interests of Bengali settlers and unable to cooperate with the minority leaders or understand the special status of the hill tracts, reads the statement signed by its co-chairs Eric Avebury, Sultana Kamal and Elsa Stamatopoulou.

The commission also pointed to the incidents of torture of two karbaris at Bara Modak of Thanchi in Bandarban by Border Guard Bangladesh personnel and the police attack on a procession of students demanding constitutional rights for national minorities in Khagrachari in which 22 were injured.

All the allegations indicated that the national minorities in the hills continue to suffer from marginalisation and abuse by state and non-state actors even 14 years after signing of the accord, the statement says.

The government which vowed to protect the rights of the people and was signatory to various international treaties continued to ignore its obligations towards minority populations, the statement added.

It also cited the peace model the prime minister Sheikh Hasina laid out at a recent session of the United Nations General Assembly where she talked about ‘inclusion of excluded people.’

‘But the reality is different in the Chittagong Hill Tracts,’ the statement says.

courtesy: New Age

The full statement from CHTC could be found from our previous post: http://chtnewsupdate.blogspot.com/2011/10/cht-commission-urges-government-to.html

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