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Friday, December 2, 2011

CHTC decries govt interference

The Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission on Wednesday expressed ‘strong disappointment’ at the ‘unprecedented obstruction and interference’ of officials of the district administration and intelligence agencies during conducting the commission’s mission in Rangamati and Bandarban on November 25.

Civil officials and personnel of law-enforcement agencies insisted on being present, disregarding the commission’s opposition, during the activities of the commission’s sixth mission, alleged CHTC co-chair Sultana Kamal, also a former adviser to a caretaker government, at a press briefing at the National Press Club.

‘We requested them to leave, because their presence would violate the principles of confidentiality and trust and affect the testimonies. But, some of the officials and members of security forces present in the meeting said they were there under orders from their superiors and written instructions from the ministries concerned. At this point, the commission was compelled to discontinue its planned mission,’ Sultana added.

When asked which ministries had issued the instructions, CHTC co-chair Elsa Stamatpoulou refused to name the ministries for diplomatic reasons.

The sixth mission of the international CHT Commission was scheduled to be conducted in November 22 to 29. The commission visited Rangamati and Khagrachari hill districts and dropped its scheduled visit to Bandarban due to the ‘interference’ of the law-enforcement agencies.

Such actions contravene constitutional as well as international norms of freedom of movement, personal liberty, and security and freedom of expression, the commission observed.

The mission however made several recommendations including forming an independent and impartial commission to investigate the allegations of gross human rights violations in the CHT, inclusion of the minority people in the police stationed in the CHT, declaring a definite timeframe for withdrawal of the temporary camps of security forces in accordance with the 1997 CHT Peace Treaty, amendment to the Land Commission Act, 2001 in consistency with the accord, ensuring free and effective function of the CHT Regional Council, hill district councils, and traditional justice institutions.

CHTC member lawyer Sarah Hossain and adviser Meghna Guha Thakurata, among others, also spoke at the press briefing.

courtesy: New Age BD

Full statement from CHTC could be viewed from the following link:


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