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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bangladesh tribe falls victim to rise in sex attacks and killings

Following is the report from Survival International:

Chakma family from the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh
Chakma family from the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh
© Mark McEvoy/Survival

A minority rights watchdog in Bangladesh has exposed ‘unabated’ levels of violence against indigenous women and children from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

The CHT, in southeastern Bangladesh, are home to eleven tribes, known collectively as Jummas.
In the last four months, the Kapaeeng Foundation has recorded nine serious attacks. Four Jummas have been killed, four raped and two children assaulted.

The most recent victim was 32-year-old Pratima Chakma. Her body was discovered on October 1 in a ditch in Kamalchari village. She had been raped and then killed.

In July, five year-old Mong Nuching Marma, from the Marma tribe (one of the largest in the CHT), was killed, along with his grandfather and his mother. They had reportedly been trying to stop a Bengali settler raping a 15 year-old relative. Villagers allege that the perpetrator is known to have been involved in a land dispute with the family.

Land disputes between Bangladesh’s indigenous Jummas and hundreds of thousands of settlers brought to the region by the government are commonplace, often resulting in violence.

In April this year settlers, supported by the army, burned six Jumma villages to the ground following such a dispute. Bangladesh soldiers routinely stand by and watch while settlers attack Jummas and their homes.

In 1997 the government and the Jummas signed a peace accord that committed the government to removing military camps from the region and to ending the theft of Jumma land by settlers and the army.

However, fourteen years on military camps remain in the Hill Tracts, and violence and land grabbing continue.

courtesy: Survival International

Two PCP members arrested in Kaokhali

TWO members of the Hill Students’ Council (PCP), a front organisation of the United Peoples’ Democratic Front (UPDF), were arrested on 28th October night from Poapara in Kaokhali Sadar under Rangamati district.

The arrested PCP activists have been identified as Riton Chakma (15), a student of Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), and Utpal Chakma (16), press and publication secretary of PCP Kaokhali unit and a Secondary School Certificate candidate respectively.

In a statement, PCP central committee member Aingya Marma claimed that, the two students were picked up from a rented house. Later, the army put rickety guns in their hands and then handed them over to the police.

The soldiers also searched the UPDF office at Betbunia in the morning on 29th October.

the two arrested students. photo courtesy: chtnews24

the two arrested students with rickety gun in hand . photo courtesy: chtnews24

Friday, October 28, 2011

"We have been betrayed by the Government"- say Indigenous and rights activists

Following are the reports from "the daily star" and "the independentbd" :


Govt yet to recognise indigenous people

Say speakers

(From left) Sanjeeb Drong, Rashed Khan Menon, Sultana Kamal, and Farah Kabir at a seminar on "Adivasi and election manifesto of Awami League" organised by Bangladesh Adivasi Forum in Cirdap auditorium in the city yesterday. Photo: STAR

Rights activists and indigenous people yesterday alleged that the present government has broken its electoral pledges denying recognition as indigenous in the amended constitution.

They termed it "tantamount to betrayal" with the indigenous community and said they will continue their movement until their demand is met.

They told a seminar titled 'Electoral Manifesto of Awami League, Charter for Change: Expectation and Achievement of Indigenous Community' organised by Bangladesh Adivasi Forum in Cirdap auditorium in the city.

Advocate Sultana Kamal said there is a huge difference between what indigenous community expected and what they have received from the government.

It is unfortunate that the ministers who earlier talked in favour of the indigenous people now they have changed their mind with the change of positions, she said.

Rashed Khan Menon, chairman of the parliamentary caucus on indigenous affairs, said, “We surely knew that the indigenous people would be recognised in the constitution but it was beyond my knowledge how things turned upside down at the end.”

Saktipada Tripura, organising secretary of Parbatya Chattagram Janasanghati Samity (PCJS), alleged that the Awami League led grand alliance has broken their electoral manifesto about the indigenous people and it is "synonymous to betrayal" with the indigenous community.

There is no alternative other than united movement to achieve rights of the community, he said.
Rabindranath Saren, general secretary of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, chaired the programme while Sanjeeb Drong, general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, read out a keynote paper.

Prof Mesbah Kamal and Dr Dalem Chandra Barman of Dhaka University, among others, spoke while Farah Kabir, country director of ActionAid Bangladesh, moderated it.


courtesy: the daily star

Constitutional rights for ethnic minorities demanded

 Speakers at a discussion meeting on Wednesday demanded constitutional rights for ethnic minorities as it was one of the election manifestos of the ruling party. The speakers at the discussion on ‘Manifesto of Awami League, charter of change: achievement and expectation’ reiterated that ethnic minorities should be recognised in the Constitution by virtue of their own identity. 

“People of the country including those of ethnic minorities joined the Liberation War to establish a secular society. But even after 39 years of independence, it is yet to be achieved,” said Sultana Kamal, executive director of Ain O Shalish Kendra, at the discussion as chief guest. To exercise democracy, ethnic minorities should be recognised, she said.

Workers party president Rashed Khan Menon, MP, said the government might be trying to dissuade from the issue of ethnic minorities. We are dissatisfied with it but we would go ahead with the rights of ethnic minorities, he added.

The ethnic minorities are under threat of displacement from their lands and the situation might get worsen further due to the absence of constitutional recognition of their identity and rights. 

Non-implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Treaty and non-functioning of the CHT Land Commission could be held responsible in this regard, Sultana Kamal said.

Leader of ethnic minorities Sanjib Drong presented the keynote paper, while ActionAid country director Farah Kabir moderated the programme.  



courtesy: theindependentbd

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

EU says- "We are concerned about situation of CHT"

Following is the letter from European Union (EU), sent to Jumma Peoples' UK network:

1094183_Reply Jumma People

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Move to drive away hill people still on: says Larma

Move to drive away hill people still on: Larma

Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma

Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, chairman of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Regional Council, has said the government, like its predecessors, is trying to drive away the hill people from CHT by acquiring their land in the name of what he said expansion of security camps and development of tourism industry.

Popularly known as Santu Larma, he was speaking at a seminar on “Compilation of laws and custom relating to Chakmas' Land Management System” in the conference room of CHT Regional Council here yesterday.

Mongal Kumar Chakma read out the keynote paper while Gautam Kumar Chakma, member of CHTRC, and Prakkriti Ranjan Chakma, president of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, CHT chapter, were the main speakers at the seminar organised by CHT Regional Council in association with Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF).

Larma said around five lakh people from plain land were settled on the ancestral land of Jumma people during the regimes of late president Ziaur Rahman and Ershad. It was part of a conspiracy hatched by the two governments to annihilate the Jumma people, he alleged.

The conspiracy is still on to grab the ancestral land and homesteads of Jumma people, said Larma, also the chief of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS).

He said CHT Regional Council has become a dysfunctional institution due to non-implementation of peace accord and other laws relating to its (CHTRC) smooth functioning. He demanded full implementation of the accord as soon as possible.

“We are facing serious problems in land management in hills as many authorities like Raja, headmen, karbaries and deputy commissioners (DCs) are dealing with the issue,” Larma said, stressing the need for a proper land management system so that the hill people can establish their right to land.

He said since the chairmen and members of three hill district councils are politically nominated they always work in favour of the government. They can't do any task without instructions of the party's high command, he added.

Dr Shamim Inam, director of MJF, and Brishaketu Chakma, councillor of Rangamati Hill District Council, were the special guests at the seminar.

courtesy: The daily star

Thursday, October 13, 2011

CHT Accord Implementation: Indigenous people feel betrayed

CHT Accord Implementation

Indigenous people feel betrayed

Representatives from indigenous communities yesterday said the government had “betrayed” them with "false" hopes and promises of constitutional recognition and implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord.

They warned that if the promises remained unfulfilled, the government would have to take responsibility for any conflict that may break out in the CHT region.

They made these comments at a discussion on a national convention of democracy activists protesting "the crisis in national and individual lives" that would be held on October 29.

The organising committee of the convention arranged the programme at the Liberation War Museum in the city.

“The issue of the indigenous people has been a much talked about issue both nationally and internationally,” said Sanjeeb Drong, indigenous community leader and general secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum.

And yet it remains neglected by the government, and the indigenous communities are left with no other option but to highlight the issue in protests and in the upcoming national convention, he said.

Speaking as the chair, Gono Forum Presidium Member Pankaj Bhattacharya said the debate on constitutional recognition of indigenous people is just a ploy to divert attention from implementing the CHT accord.
courtesy: The daily star

Settler attack on Jumma village in Taindong

Settler attack on Jumma village in Taindong

Bengali settlers carried out an attack on a Jumma village in Taindong under Matiranga Upazila last night, looting and ransacking houses, sources said.

According to sources, a group of settlers complained to Taindong Union Council chairman, Tajul Islam that some of them were beaten up while cutting bamboos at noon at Battimuro, a hilly land belonging to Jumma villagers.

Acting on the complaint, Tajul called Jumma elders of Nuapara village including Phoni Bhushan Chakma, discussed the matter with them and said, “The settlers have become agitated.”

He also told them that he was trying his best to make sure no untoward incident took place.

But at 10pm a group of about 50 – 60 settlers began attacking Headman Para, a Jumma populated village in Taindong – an area where most of the Jumma villages were wiped out during waves of settlers attacks between 1971 and 1986.

Now only a few Jumma villages survived.

“They (settlers) entered our village, shouting and began ransacking our houses.” a villager told chtnews.com.

“On hearing them shouting and seeing them coming towards our village, we all got frightened and fled in to the jungle. Then the settlers looted and destroyed our homes.” he added.

Later, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel and chairman Tajul rushed to Headman Para and brought the situation under control.

At 11pm the BGB held a meeting with members of both the communities and settled the issue.

According to initial reports, the houses of Tirtho Roy Tripura (55), Jibon Mohan Tripura (80), Shanti Tripura (50), an ex-UP member and Ananta Tripura were looted.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Repeated threats made to complainant in case of arson attack

Police authorities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) have denied to register a General Diary submitted regarding continuous threats made against Mr Milon Chakma – the only complainant to register a First Information Report regarding the February and April arson attacks investigated and reported by GHRD that left hundreds of indigenous Jumma in The CHT region homeless.

On the 31 August, 2011 around at 5.00 PM, Mr. Milon Chakma, received threats to withdraw his case relating to the February and April arson attacks against the Jumma communities in Rangamati and Khagrachari districts in the CHT. Mr. Chakma was in a tea shop with an associate and was told by one of the co-accused in the case, Md. Jasim Uddin, Son of Abdul Malek of Rangipara village under Longdu police station in Rangamati district that if he failed to withdraw his case, he will be implicated in false criminal cases and put to the jail forever.

After receiving the threats, Mr. Chakma immediately informed the Longdu police station verbally and requested protection. Less than two weeks late, on September 11, 2011 Mr. Chakma submitted a written complaint to the officer in Charge of Longdu police station, requesting to register a General Diary concerning his security. The concerned police officer denied to register the case.

Mr. Chakma is now anxious about his physical security and the possibility of being physically assaulted or implicated in false cases. Mr. Chakma has also received threats previously relating to his registered case regarding the February and April arson attacks.

Police in the CHT region have failed to protect the indigenous Jumma community and have been implicated in human rights abuses themselves. During the February and April attacks, border guards and other security forces stood by and watched as Jumma homes were burned to ashes. Now, police ignore the cries for help from the only person in the community to speak out against the arson attacks that left hundreds of indigenous men, women and children injured and homeless.

Police impunity and disregard for human rights violations and the safety of minority groups in the CHT only serves to exacerbate the situation for minorities in the region who fear for their safety and are unable to seek justice through the authorities in the region. GHRD and our local partner, JusticeMakers Bangladesh demands the authorities to register the Mr. Chakma’s General Diary, to fully investigate his case and to ensure his safety.

To learn more about GHRD’s findings on the February and April arson attacks, please go here

courtesy: GHRD

Update: Administration evicted the houses erected on a fringe hillock in Rangamati town

On 10 October 2011 due to tremendous pressure from the local people, district administration evicted the houses erected on August 2011 occupying a fringe hillock near Jalajan Ghat of Rangamati brigade headquarters and Tatu Roy Adam (public health area) under Rangamati municipality in Rangamati district.
It is learnt that though district administration erected the houses, however, Bengali settlers are yet to take away valuables from that place. On the other, they are threatening local Jumma people accusing them involvement with this eviction.
Pictures and details about those Bengali settlement could be viewed from one of our previous posts: 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Violence against minority women in CHT goes unabated

Violence against minority women in CHT goes unabated


Muktasree Chakma Sathi

Violence against national minority women and children in the Chittagong Hill Tracts continued unabated, with nine being victimised between July and October, according to national minority’s rights watchdog Kapaeeng Foundation.

Four of the victims were killed, four were raped and two children were molested, the rights watchdog said.

The ‘Lama killing’ shocked the CHT inhabitants as three members of a family were killed allegedly by Mohammad Musa at Lama in Bandarban on July 30.

In this incident, five-year-old boy Mong Nuching was killed along with his grandfather Wangchhau Marma, 65, and his mother, Ramuching Marma, when he accompanied them to save his 15-year-old sister from being raped.

Nishi Dewan, assistant general secretary of the Hill Women’s Federation, backed by Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti, told New Age that the law enforcement agencies in the CHT had failed to play their role ‘in a proactive, accountable and unbiased manner’ which could stop such violence.

‘The main issues have always been the land and the patriarchal mentality. Earlier, there were sectarian clashes [in CHT] to grab land and now they are raping women and killing people for the same reason.’ Nishi alleged, adding that any kind of violence against women needs to be strongly dealt with irrespective of the communities of the victims and perpetrators.

When asked about this, the Bandarban deputy commissioner, Mizanur Rahman, came down heavily on the media and said such crimes could be found in any other places of the country.

‘See, rape and killing take place everywhere. Why do you get so much worried about such incidents when they relate to national minority women in the CHT?’ he said.

When asked whether such crimes were related to ‘land issues,’ Mizanur said that such crimes taking place in areas of his jurisdiction, where the Lama killing took place, were not related to land issues.

On October 1, another woman named Pratima Chakma, 32, was raped and killed and the severed body was founded at Kamalchari in Khagrachari.

Mong Sing Neo, the Kapaeeng Foundation coordinator, told New Age that the reason behind such crimes was the ‘absence of any single example’ of punishment.    

The Kapaeeng Foundation asked the government to investigate the incidents and demanded adequate compensation for the families of the victims and the trial and punishment of perpetrators.

It also called on the government to ensure the security of the national minority women and children as they are citizens of Bangladesh.

The Kapaeeng Foundation in its electronic newsletter alleged that the ‘indigenous girls’ were raped, tortured and killed and said that ‘due to the non-implementation of the CHT accord, Jumma women are still not safe. Killing, rape and kidnapping, in particular, are being reported regularly.’

Two girls were raped between July and August and a child was molested and another was raped in September, according to the Kapaeeng Foundation’s newsletter.

courtesy: New Age

Click the following link to read the newsletter from Kapaeeng:


Rehabilitate displaced, returnee Jummas Khagrachhari rally demands

Rehabilitate displaced, returnee Jummas

Khagrachhari rally demands


Leaders of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Jumma Refugee Welfare Association have demanded rehabilitation of the returnee Jumma refugees and internally displaced Jummas in the CHT region.

They have also demanded full implementation of the accord singed in Agartala, capital of the Indian state of Tripura, on March 9 in 1997 between the then Awami League government and the leaders of Jumma refugees.

The demands were raised at a rally at Larma Square ground in Khagrachhari town with association's President Prabhakar Chakma in the chair.

The speakers said Jumma refugees are suffering a lot as most of the important points of the accord have not yet been implemented. They said the government should immediately implement the accord fully to mitigate the sufferings of the Jumma refuges and establish peace in CHT.

They also demanded full implementation of the CHT Peace Accord, removal of Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission (CHTLDRC) Chairman Justice Khademul Islam Chowdhury, amendment to the controversial clauses of the commission Act 2001 and their recognition as indigenous people in the constitution.

The speakers threatened to launch a tougher agitation programme if their demand for rehabilitation of Jumma refugees was not met immediately.

The rally was addressed, among others, by Vice-president of Jumma Refugee Welfare Association Ajit Baran Chakma, its General Secretary Santoshita Chakma, Vice-Chairman of Dighinala Upazila Parishad Supriya Chakma and Principal Madhu Mangal Chakma.

Later, a team led by Prabhakar Chakma submitted a memorandum to the prime minister through Khagrachhari deputy commissioner demanding rehabilitation of Jumma refugees and full implementation of the CHT Peace Accord.


courtesy: The daily star

Sunday, October 9, 2011

12 UPDF activists arrested in Subolong

TWELVE United Peoples’ Democratic Front (UPDF) members were arrested last night from its Subolong office under Rangamati district, a UPDF press release and other sources said.

The army and police claimed that they had recovered illegal arms and ammunitions and documents during the raid in the office which is just a few hundreds from an army camp and is surrounded by Kaptai lake water on three sides.

However, UPDF’s leader Alakesh Chakma vehemently rejected the claim, saying it was “stage managed and a premeditated conspiracy.”

He condemned the arrest and demanded their immediate and unconditional release.

According to eyewitnesses’ accounts, a group of army personnel led by a captain from Subolong camp, which situated at the top of a hill, raided the UPDF office downhill at about 9pm and the captain gathered all the twelve UPDF activists on the rooftop of the office building.

“Then he began to ask questions about UPDF in a lighter vein” a shopkeeper who was present there told chtnews.com and added that when one of the UPDF activists had wanted to go downstairs to fetch some water bottles the commander dissuaded him, saying “not now, not now.”

‘Just minutes later an army man shouted from inside the office: “I got it, I got it.”’ he continued.

Then the army produced a rickety 9MM pistol, two rounds of cartridge bullets, Taka 17 thousand ($ 227) and some documents before a gathering public.

The army was accompanied by a few policemen from Rangamati Kotwali thana or police station.

Although Subolong is under Barkal police station, no police personnel from there were present during the raid.

The UPDF office is just a few hundred yards away from the camp.

After midnight (12:45am) the arrested UPDF members were taken to Kotwali Thana in Rangamati town.

source: chtnews.com

Friday, October 7, 2011

Threatened indigenous Jumma families find homes in Korea: Jumma people open library to preserve their culture here

Jumma people open library to preserve their culture here

A group of threatened peoples have found a home in a rural Korean town after escaping persecution in their homeland.

The Jumma ― who form the 11 tribes of the rugged Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh ― have been fleeing their homes after suffering government-condoned abuses.

Rights groups have reported decades of persecution, including land-grabbing following the creation of Bangladesh 40 years ago. Tribe protection NGO Survival International reported how the new country’s military burned villages to make room for Bengali settlers, raping, torturing and murdering people in the indigenous farming communities.

After their people were persecuted by settlers and pushed from their own land, 60 members of the minority group have settled in the Yangchon district of Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province. They are now forming a community to nurture their families and culture in Korea.

The group of refugees opened the country’s first Jum Library last week in a bid to give their children a firmer footing here through education.

Ronel Chakma Nani, one of the first Jumma people to arrive in Korea, stands outside the new Jum library in Yangchon, Gyeonggi Province.

Ronel Chakma Nani, one of the first Jumma to arrive in Korea in 1994, helped set up the Jumma People’s Network Korea to support other refugees here.

“We the Jumma in Bangladesh are racially discriminated against,” he said.

“The Bengali ruling nationality is quite different from us in terms of language, culture and religion. We are very different in all aspects, we have been discriminated against very much. On the contrary, Korea is very similar to us in the case of religion as a historically Buddhist country and racially we are similar too. Even the food culture is similar. There are many similarities between Korea and the Jumma people.

“The most influential factor was that we got to know about Korea’s democratic and economic progress, we could tell that this would be a better place to live.”
Jumma mothers hold their children at the new Jum library in Yangchon, Gyeonggi Province. (Kirsty Taylor)

The Jumma tribes indigenous to the CHT region of Bangladesh have been persecuted since the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent.

Although the 650,000 non-Muslim Jumma people made up 98.5 percent of the CHT population, in 1947 the British ceded the region to become part of Muslim East Pakistan, which is now Bangladesh.

The Jumma have suffered since the country won its war for independence with Pakistan in 1971, becoming victims of Bangladeshi government-sanctioned persecution.

Ronel, who owned a pharmacy business in Bangladesh, fled the country after being “involved in activities against the government” that was persecuting his people.

“I have a long history,” he said. “In 1986 I was arrested by the army. I was in jail for three years. Even after the peace accord I was supposed to be arrested, but I failed to be prosecuted.”

He first came to Korea alone in 1994 but returned home after Jumma rebels and the Bangladeshi government forged a peace agreement in 1997. However, he returned here in 2000 because “the human rights violations did not cease, they just took a different form.”

He has been living in Yangchon since then, and was joined in 2003 by his wife and son, who is now 11 years old and attending Korean school.

Ronel, who worked as an English teacher after gaining refugee status here and is now assisting a Hangyang University professor, wants to raise awareness about and preserve the culture of the Jumma people for his son’s generation and beyond.

“When I started Jumma People’s Network Korea our members were very few,” he said.

“Our objective is to protect the Jumma people so that we can help each other, teaching our culture, language and tradition, and to protect our nation from extinction.

“Initially we made a center for ourselves but we hope we can increase the size of the library in a bigger building with many books that we can share with the people in this community. That way we can have cultural exchange with the people living around this area.”

The library has been assisted by Korean rights group Human Asia and stocked by BIR Publishing and Kinderland publishers, who both donated 1,000 books each, including Korean and English children’s texts. Stationary company Monami contributed pens and art supplies while Global Health NGO MediPeace has helped renovate the JPNK headquarters and five refugees’ households following rain damage this summer.

Though the small community is well settled now, 13 of the 60 Jumma in the Gimpo area are still waiting for the Korean government to grant them refugee status.

The wait, which lasted two years for Ronel, is a time when a displaced person is not permitted to work or claim any kind of financial support from the government.

“We just survived by ourselves on the grace of God,” said Ronel.

“I think that the Korean government still has to do a lot of things. The refugee policy of Korea should be equal to the international standards so that refugees in Korea can live like in EU countries.

“We have had a lot of problems until now. Even if you get refugee status, the government doesn’t give you any kind of support to resettle economically or socially ... my son can go to school but they should provide education not only to the children but to the families to help them fit into Korean society.

“As a result, we cannot change our lives economically or socially. We remain refugees.”

However, he noted that the people around him had grown welcoming to his group since he came as one of the first handful of Jumma people to enter Korea.

“At first, the people here were not rude or bad to us but we recognized a rural sentiment (in the Yangchon area).

“They liked to keep to themselves and they didn’t want to mix with foreigners, but now we have a lot of communication here and a lot of people support our cause. They understand our plight.”

While Ronel’s ultimate wish is to return to his homeland if the conflict there can be resolved, for now he and his people are happy to call Korea their home.

By Kirsty Taylor (kirstyt@heraldm.com)

courtesy: KoreaHerald

An indigenous Jumma woman killed brutally in Khagrachari

On 1 October 2011 a Jumma woman was brutally killed at Kamalchari area in Khagrachari district. The deceased was identified as Ms. Protima Chakma (32) wife of farmer Priti Bikash Chakma of Kamalchari village under Khagrachari sadar upazila (sub-district) in Khagrachari district.
It is learnt that Protima Chakma went out of house along with the mid-day meal for her husband at noon on that day and since then she was missing. Around 8:00 pm villagers recovered her body in a ditch. Villagers found two legs of the deceased fastened and neck mutilated. It is reported that Ms. Protima Chakma wore a necklace made of gold. That necklace might be the cause of the killing.
At about 11:00 pm police and army rushed there and took away the dead body to Khagrachari police station and on next day in the morning the dead body was sent to Khagrachari district general hospital for autopsy.
Victim's husband filed a case with Khagrachari police station against a Bengali settler named Md. Rafiq of Bhuyachari cluster village under Kamalchari union. It is reported that on that day Md. Rafiq along with another Bengali settler from Bhuyachari cluster village was seen to ramble at that area. No body was arrested till the report writing.
It is mentionable that due to the non-implementation of the CHT Accord, Jumma women are still not safe. Killing, rape and kidnapping, in particular, is reported with regularly. Very recently, in July 2011, 4 indigenous women were raped by Bengali settlers. In September 2011, two cases regarding sexual molestation and violence have been received.

Kapaeeng Foundation
(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)
Shalma Garden, House # 23/25, Road # 4, Block # B, PC Culture Housing, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Telephone: +880-2-8190801
E-mail: kapaeeng.foundation@gmail.com, kapaeeng.watch@gmail.com

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sexual violence against indigenous women in CHT continue

Sexual violence on indigenous women is being continued by Bengali settlers in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) with impunity. Very recently, in July 2011, 4 indigenous women were raped by Bengali settlers. In September 2011, two cases regarding sexual molestation and violence have been received. For instances-

A Jumma woman raped by Bengali settler in Panchari of Khagrachari hill district
On 24 September 2011 an 18-years old indigenous Tripura woman of Karko Karbari Para of Ultachari union under Panchari upazila (sub-district) in Khagrachari hill district was raped by a Bengali settler named Md. Karim (31) s/o Janu Mian of village- Molla Para of No.1 ward under the same union.
It is learnt that, on that day at around 11:00 am the victim was staying at their Jum ghar (a temporarily built residence for Jum cultivation) only with her one and half year old infant. Her husband Pushpa Ranjan Tripura went to Panchari upazila headquarters with his mother to take aged allowance. Meanwhile, the culprit Md. Karim appeared at the Jum ghar and asked for a glass of drinking water to the victim. When the victim came out from her room to give a glass of water, Md. Karim grabbed her neck and then raped vigorously. While the victim was out crying, Md. Karim left the spot quickly. After the incident, the culprit Md. Karim has absconded from the village.
On 26 September 2011, a case was filed with Panchari police station by the victim’s husband in connection with this rape incident under section 3(1) of Women and Child Repression Act. As per the relatives’ apprehension, the case was not effective.
The relatives also blamed that; the medical test of the victim was done very overdue. Till the time of the reporting, the police could not arrest the culprit.  

A minor Jumma girl attempted to rape by a Bengali settler in Thanchi of Bandarban hill district
On 12 September 2011 a 3-years old indigenous infant (girl) was attempted to rape by a Bengali settler named Md. Shah Jahan Mian (26) s/o Abdul Mannan of Satkania area of Chittagong.
The victim was identified as Hla Hla Saing Marma, daughter of Charli Prue and Mrs. Mamau Marma. The culprit Md. Shah Jahan is an outsider of Bandarban hill district, working as a construction labor nearby the primary school.
It is learnt that, on that day at about 3:00 pm Md. Shah Jahan, make believe to friendliness, took away the girl while she was playing in the vicinity of their house. Their house was close to a building under the construction. At first, the culprit kissed the innocent girl, then made her dress put off and made her undressed. Seeing such acts of the culprit, the girl started crying.
Hearing the weeping of the victim, teachers of nearby Thanchi Government Model Primary School, including the girl’s mother rushed to the spot. They found that, the girl was howling and Md. Shah Jahan was standing aside. The girl at once described the occurrence to her mother. Considering the description of the offspring, her mother and other teachers of the school caught the culprit red handed and later handed over to the police. A case was filed against Md. Shah Jahan in connection with sexual molestation.

Kapaeeng Foundation
(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)
Shalma Garden, House # 23/25, Road # 4, Block # B, PC Culture Housing, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Telephone: +880-2-8190801
E-mail: kapaeeng.foundation@gmail.com, kapaeeng.watch@gmail.com

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

CHT Commission urges the Government to conduct investigations into allegations of human rights violations in the CHT

Press release from the co-chairs of the CHT Commission regarding human rights violations of indigenous peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts:

1 October 2011

Press Release

CHT Commission urges the Government of Bangladesh to conduct thorough and impartial investigations into allegations of human rights violations in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, activate the work of the Land Commission and implement the 1997 CHT Accord.

In the face of increasing allegations of human rights violations of indigenous people, the CHT Commission would like to remind the Awami League-led government that it is time for them to abide by their Election Manifesto of 2008 of the promise of full implementation of the 1997 CHT Accord.

The CHT Commission has received reports of alleged attempts of land grabbing of the Khyang community from the area of Gungru Mukh Para under Kuhalong Mouza in Bandarban district. We have learnt that local Awami League leaders have threatened the local Khyang community with eviction from their land and have also threatened to attack them. According to the local Khyang people, they have been living in the area for more than a century. Although many Bangalis took leases of the land they never planted rubber trees according to the rules of the lease and as a result their leases were canceled after the signing of the 1997 CHT Accord.

We have received reports that on 18 September 2011 two Karbaris (local village leaders) from the Marma community of the Baro Modak area of Remacri union under Thanchi upazila in Bandarban hill district were allegedly tortured and three others allegedly harassed by Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB) commanders under the 10 Battalion Boli Para BGB zone.

We have learned of an incident in Khagrachchari in which Bangali settlers allegedly have made several attempts to occupy lands belonging to the Marma community living in Pagla Para of Nabhanga mouza under Patachara union of Ramgarh upazila on 23 and 24 September 2011.

We have also learned of a separate incident in Khagrachhari in which government security forces allegedly injured 22 Jumma students in an attack on a procession by about 900 students from Khagrachhari College who were demonstrating for constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh on 7 August 2011.

All these allegations indicate that the indigenous peoples of the CHT continue to suffer from marginalization and abuse by state (the border guards) and non-state (Bangali settlers) actors even 14 years after signing of the Accord. The government which vowed to protect the rights of the people and are signatory to various international treaties continues to ignore their obligations towards minority populations.

Although the progress has been disappointing, we hope that the Awami League-led government will honour its Election Manifesto of 2008 and implement the 1997 CHT Accord in full within its present elected term which is already at its halfway stage. In order to ensure that, the Government must end the culture of impunity that prevails in the CHT, where members of the security forces are regularly alleged to be involved in human rights violations of indigenous hill peoples, and these incidents are rarely investigated.

The CHT Commission believes that it is crucial for the Government to activate the Land Commission after amending the flaws in the present Land Dispute Settlement Commission Act of 2001 and to appoint a Chairperson of the Land Commission who has an understanding of the history of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, the significance of community-owned land of indigenous people and believes in their rights to maintain their distinct social, economic or political systems. The members of the CHT Commission in their interactions with the present Chairperson of the Land Commission have found him to be biased towards the interest of Bangali settlers and unable to cooperate with the indigenous leaders or understand the special status of the CHT.

We noted that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her ‘Peace Model’ presented at the recent session of the United Nations General Assembly listed “inclusion of excluded people” as one of the six multipliers of her proposed model. She believed that peace prevailed when justice prevailed. She added that “…as member of the UN Human Rights Council and the ECOSOC, Bangladesh consciously promotes democracy, secularism, justice and rule of law; and equal rights of women, children, minorities and other vulnerable groups”.

These are indeed welcome aspirations, but the reality is different in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Indigenous people are being driven off their homes and lands by Bangali settlers; they are enduring constant harassment and persecution and human rights violations by the security forces and by the settlers, with the connivance of the security forces, and there is no authority to which they can appeal to get a hearing for their legitimate grievances.

The CHT Commission urges the Government of Bangladesh to:
  • Fully respect its international human rights obligations spelled out in the international human rights instruments.
  • Investigate allegations of human rights violations in the above-mentioned and many other cases that remain pending for lack of investigation.
  • Reactivate the Land Commission with a newly appointed Chairperson who fulfills the criteria of a fair and understanding retired judge and is acceptable to all local leaders in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
  • Declare a roadmap through which the 1997 CHT Accord can be implemented in full within the tenure of the present government as promised in the Election Manifesto.
  • Direct the Ministry of CHT Affairs to withdraw the limitations placed on the CHT Commission’s missions, which we believe to be a violation of the rights to freedom of movement and freedom of expression of the members of the CHT Commission, and enable us to continue our work in raising public awareness about the Accord.

On behalf of the CHT Commission
Eric Avebury                            Sultana Kamal                                     Elsa Stamatopoulou
Co-chair of the                        Co-chair of the                       Co-chair of the
CHT Commission                                 CHT Commission                    CHT Commission

Letter HR Violation October 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rape of tribal woman sparks protest in Khagrachhari

Leaders of Hill Women's Federation (HWF) and Pahari Chhatra Parishad demanded immediate arrest of the rapist, who allegedly raped Rozina Tripura in Karkapara area under Panchhari Upazila of the district on September 24. They  made this demand at a rally held at Shanirbar Bazar of Khagrachhari town on Wednesday.

The leaders said that torturing of tribal women was rising day by day in the area as the local administration failed to take any legal action against the criminals.

They urged government to take proper initiative to ensure security of tribal women in the area.
General Secretary of central HWF Konika Dewan presided over the meeting while Sikha Chakma, member, and President of Sadar Thana Pahari Chhtra Parishad Supriya Chakma also spoke.

Later, the party leaders and activists with several hundred of tribal women and schoolgirls brought out a protest procession from Shanirbar Bazar area and marched the district town.

It may be said that on September 24, Rozina Tripura, wife of Pusparanjan Tripura, was raped at her house in absence of her husband.

Officer-in-Charge of Panchhari Police Station Alamgir Hossain said that the victim filed a case with the police station on Sunday.

In the FIR, the victim alleged that a man named Karim from Mollapara area of the upazila entered her Karkapara resident around 11:00am in absence of her husband and raped her.

Police  is trying to arrest the rapist, the OC added.

courtesy: the independent

More details about the incident could be found from our previous post: http://chtnewsupdate.blogspot.com/2011/09/jumma-women-raped-in-panchari.html

Bangladesh Govt urged to ensure rights of indigenous people

The Human Rights Forum for Universal Periodic Review (UPR-HR Forum) yesterday called upon the government to take effective measures to ensure the rights of the country's indigenous people.

The forum officials made the call at its monthly meeting yesterday, said a press release.

The latest constitutional amendment, which termed all the people including indigenous as Bangalee, goes against the sprit of pluralism of ethnicity and multiculturalism, said the forum Convener Sultana Kamal.

It undermines the fundamental rights of those who are not Bangalee by ethnicity and cultural identity, she added.

She also urged to repeal this amendment and demonstrate equal respect to the citizens.
The government has violated its election pledges of giving constitutional recognition to the indigenous people, said the forum officials.

Their other demands included full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord, immediate resolution of land dispute of indigenous communities and withdrawal of all army camp from the CHT.

The UPR-HR Forum is an alliance of 17 non-government organisations working for promoting human rights.

courtesy: The Daily Star


Following is the report from New Age:

UPR-HR urges govt to ensure rights of national minorities

The Human Rights Forum on Universal Periodic Review, Bangladesh in a statement issued on Thursday expressed its ‘disappointment’ at the process to ensure the rights of the ‘indigenous communities’ in Bangladesh.

‘We are very disappointed that instead of making progress, the government has moved backward…’ the statement said.

Both the constitution and the manifesto of the ruling Awami League for the 2008 parliamentary elections contain the term ‘adivahi (indigenous peoples)’ and the manifesto promised to uphold the rights of such peoples.

The current government, viewed to be a ‘natural ally’ in the struggle of the national minorities, has failed to ensure the constitutional recognition of such minorities, the UPR-HR forum observed.
The constitutional declaration of the citizens of Bangladesh as only ‘Bangalees’ is against of the spirit and values of ‘pluralism and multiculturism’ which was the main inspiration of the independence war, the statement also said.

The statement further said that the UPR-HR forum hopes that the government would show ‘political courage and commitment’ in taking proper, time-bound, ‘result-oriented action’ to implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord 1997 as the ‘credit for achieving the Peace Accord goes to the prime minister Sheikh Hasina.’

They also called on the government to ensure the rights of such communities and withdrawal of the army camps from the Chittagong Hill Tracts, immediately.

The UPR-HR forum list comprises 17 leading rights organisations such as Ain o Salish Kendra, Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust, Nijera Kori, Nari Pakkha, Transparency International, Bangladesh and Bangladesh Institutes of Labour Studies.

courtesy: New Age