Space For Rent

Space For Rent
Monday, November 24, 2014, Agrahayan 10, 1421, Muharram 30, 1436 Hijr

Rights activists for faster implementation of CHT accord
Special Correspondent
Publish Date : 2014-11-24,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 19
Rights activists have urged the policy makers to implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) accord completely before it is too late.
The culture of impunity discourage the indigenous people from raising their voice against the authorities, they observed.
They came up with the observation at a seminar on "violence against women and girls in the CHT" organised by CHT Commission (CHTC) at the Chayanat Bhaban in the capital on Sunday.
The seminar blamed that the militarisation and transmigration programmes have continued to settle illegally the landless Bangalees from the plain-lands in CHT that was initiated in 1976 by General Ziaur Rahman.
The settlement has created extreme vulnerability of and poverty to the adivasis and deeply affected adivasi girls' safety and security in the region.
Rights activists who recently visited CHT were attacked in Rangamati, Khagrachari and Bandarban under the very nose of the district administration and law enforcement agencies by the Bangalee settlers.
Not to anybody's surprise, the police were reluctant to register any complain of attacks on the rights groups, while the nonchalant authorities in Dhaka expressed their surprise over the civil administrations attitude in CHT hesitant to help the victims, the speakers told the seminar.
Dr Mizanur Rahman, chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said the commission have probed the incidents of attacks on the rights activists and have sent strong notes to relevant authorities with an advice to take legal action against perpetrators. Unfortunately the authorities have yet to respond to NHRC to this regards, lamented Dr Mizan.
"Well I am still expecting a pro-active response from the authority on the attacks on the activists. NHRC have also failed to get any response regarding previous probe reports on murders, arsons and sexual violence's against the indigenous people by perpetrators," he said.
The seminar was presided by Advocate Sultana Kamal, co-chairperson of CHTC, while Ayesha Khanam of Mahila Parishad, Dr Mizanur Rahman, KS Mong, member of Bandarman CHT Regional Council, Khushi Kabir, Nijera Kori, Barrister Sara Hossain, BLAST and Chanchana Chamna, BIWN participated in the discussion, while Dr Meghna Guhathakurta moderated the seminar.
Sara Hossain described how the perpetrators of the attacks on the adivasis have been able to flex their muscles with blessings of political power and civil administrations. Even the local police officers face pressure from political and administrative high-ups not to proceed with the cases against the Bangalee settlers, she said.
A research paper "Marginalisation and Impunity: Violence Against Women and Girls in the CHT" by Bina D'Costa was presented at the seminar.
The researcher recommends for sincere political will to bring peace and stability in the CHT must begin with the demilitarisation of the region as determined in 1997 CHT Accord.
The research recommends voluntary resettlement of Bangalees who have illegally occupied lands that belong to the adivasis.
A sustainable gender-sensitive and gender-responsive development project combating the poverty and inequality of indigenous communities in the region must be endorsed, it was suggested.
Lastly, all stakeholders must recognise that the end of impunity is fundamental and urgent, and that without adequate, effective and impartial enforcement of relevant laws, violence against adivasi women and girls cannot be mitigated.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
Published by the Editor on behalf of the Observer Ltd. from Globe Printers, 24/A, New Eskaton Road, Ramna, Dhaka. Editorial, News and Commercial Offices : Aziz Bhaban (2nd floor), 93, Motijheel C/A, Dhaka-1000. Phone :9586651-58. Fax: 9586659-60, Advertisemnet: 9513663, E-mail: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]