Appeal of International Community to the Govt of Bangladesh for Full Implementation of CHT Accord

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Hill Voice, 22 December 2022, Special Reporter: On 20 December 2022 the international community has sent a letter to Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of the government of people’s republic of Bangladesh with an argent appeal for proper, speedy and full implementation of Chittagong Hill Tract (CHT) Accord. 

The letter was signed by the representatives of 54 organisations and 187 individuals of 42 countries of the globe and was circulated by Joan Carling, the Executive Director of Indigenous Peoples Rights International and former expert member of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). 

The letter, addressing to the prime minister, states that we, the representatives of the undersigned organizations and individuals, express our sincere thanks and congratulations to your government for the historic agreement, popularly known as “Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord” signed by your government with the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti, the political party of indigenous Jumma peoples of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), on December 2, 1997, for a political and peaceful solution to the longstanding CHT problem.

The letter mentions that “It is highly commendable that your government has implemented many aspects of the agreement after signing the CHT Accord. However, according to research and studies undertaken by UN agencies and independent academics and researchers, key components of the agreement remain unimplemented. These are the following: 1) preservation of characteristics of the tribal area status of CHT region; 2) self-rule government; 3) demilitarization of the region; 4) resolution of land disputes; 5) rehabilitation of refugees and internally displaced persons; 6) amendment of relevant laws as per agreement; 7) relocation of settlers outside CHT.”

It also states that “It is undoubtedly encouraging that after coming to state power in 2009, your government has accepted the repeated recommendations of the consecutive Universal Periodic Reviews of the UN Human Rights Council in 2009, 2013 and 2018, including recommendations of 10th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2011 regarding the implementation of the CHT Accord. It is also commendable that your government pledges to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and to ratify the ILO Convention No. 169 in the 6th, 7th and 8th Five Year Plan. We do believe that through the signing of the CHT Accord, a historic opportunity has been created for a political and peaceful solution to the CHT problem to end the longstanding bloody conflict and communal clashes. The peace and development of the CHT region is our common aspiration which is important for the whole country and the world.”

Attracting to the attention of the prime minister Sheikh Hasina, the letter says, “With your leadership, we earnestly appeal to you and your government to immediately undertake the following steps to implement the CHT, as well as the UNDRIP, that would preserve and strengthen tribal leadership in the CHT: 

  • Devolve the political, administrative, economic powers and functions, including subjects of general administration, law and order, police, land and land management, forest and environment, tourism, development of communication system to the CHT Regional Council and three Hill District Councils. 
  • Formulate Election Rules and Electoral Roll Rules, preparation of Voter List with the permanent residents of CHT and, accordingly, hold elections in the three Hill District Councils. 
  • Withdraw all the temporary camps, including de facto military rule “Operation Uttoron”. 
  • Formulate the Rules of the CHT Land Commission to settle the land disputes and return the dispossessed lands to the actual Jumma owners. 
  • Cancel land leases given to the non-residents and non-tribal persons. 
  • Rehabilitate the India-returnee refugees and internally displaced Jumma families in their lands after having returned the dispossessed lands to them. 
  • Appoint permanent residents in all jobs available in CHT with priority preference to the tribal people. 
  • To ensure consistency with the CHT Accord, amend all other laws applicable to CHT, including the Police Act of 1861, Forest Act of 1927 and CHT Regulation of 1900. 
  • Rehabilitate the Bengalee settlers outside CHT with dignity.” 

Organizations (some have opted out from publicizing their details):

1. 4th World Center for the Study of Indigenous Las and Politics, University of Colorado at Denver, United States 2. Aboriginal Males Healing Centre Strong Spirit Strong Family Strong Culture Inc., Australia 3. Action Batwa pour le Développement Intégral et l’Assistance aux Vulnérables (bABDIAV), Burundi 4. Action For Development Organization, Cambodia 5. ADIVASI EKTA PARISHAD, India 6. Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council, Bangladesh 7. Bangladesh indigenous student’s action Forum, Bangladesh 8. Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network, Bangladesh 9. Bangladesh Indigenous Youth Network, Bangladesh 10. Barisan Pemuda Adat Nusantara (BPAN), Indonesia 11. Both ENDS, Netherlands 12. Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Organization, Cambodia 13. Cambodian Indigenous Peoples Alliance, Cambodia 14. Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC), Malaysia 15. Central Mizoram Chakma Students Union, India 16. CHT AMERICAN JUMMA PEOPLES ASSOCIATION, United States 17. CHT Indigenous Peoples Council of Canada, Canada 18. Community Development Association(CDA), Bangladesh 19. Community Legal Education Center, Cambodia 20. Community Translation Organization_[CTO], Cambodia 21. CONSULTORIA TECNICA COMUNITARIA, A.C., Mexico 22. Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Philippines 23. Cultural Survival, United States 24. Cyca, India 25. Development Alternatives, United Kingdom 26. Dhaka university jum literature & cultural society, Bangladesh 27. DHEWA Development For Health Education Work Awareness Welfare Society Chakwal Pakistan, Pakistan 28. Diálogo y Movimiebto, A.C.méxico me, Mexico 29. EUROPEAN JUMMO INDIGENOUS COUNCIL OF FRANCE., France 30. Focus Droits et Accès, Democratic Republic of the Congo 31. Global Indigenous Network, New Zealand 32. Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples North East Zone, India 33. Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders Network, Bangladesh 34. Indigenous Peoples’ News Bangladesh (IPNEW BD), Bangladesh 35. Indigenous Rights Advocacy Centre, India 36. Indigenous Russia, Russia 37. Instituto AmazoniAlerta, Brazil 38. Inter State Adivasi Women’s Network (IISAWN), India 39. International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission, Bangladesh 40. Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Bangladesh 41. Jumma Peoples Network Korea, South Korea 42. Kapaeeng Foundation, Bangladesh 43. Kyrgyz Association of Forest and Land Users, Kyrgyzstan 44.Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP), Nepal 45. Lelewal Foundation, Cameroon 46. Ligue Nationale des Associations Autochtones Pygmées de la RD Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo 47. Lok Shaktii Abhiyan, India 48.RIGHTS, Indonesia 49. Social sciences, Germany 50. STAR Kampuchea (SK), Cambodia 51. The World Jummo Voice of Japan, Japan 52. TORANG TRUST, India 53. Water Justice and Gender, Netherlands ** and 11 undisclosed organizations.

Individuals (some have opted out from publicizing their details):

1. Professor Glenn T. Morris, United States 2. Devon Cuimara, Australia 3. Charles CIZA, Burundi 4. MR.Som Sopheak, Cambodia 5. Vinod Dumada, India 6. Sachin Karmakar, Bangladesh 7. Alik Mree, Bangladesh 8. Falguni Tripura, Bangladesh 9. Manjuni Chakma, Bangladesh 10. Michelin Sallata, Indonesia 11. Maaike Hendriks, Netherlands 12. Yun Mane, Cambodia 13. lorang yun, Cambodia 14. Colin Nicholas, Malaysia 15. Sagoto Tongchangya, India 16. CAJPA, United States 17. Priti Chakma, Canada 18. Shah I mobinJinnah., Bangladesh 19. Chundy Huon, Cambodia 20. Yinh Ya, Cambodia 21. DIANA VILLALOBOS DIAZ, Mexico 22. Windel Bolinget, Philippines 23. agnes portalewska, United States 24. Tumbash, India 25. John Cunnington, United Kingdom 26. Sumadh Chakma, Bangladesh 27. Amjad Hussain, Pakistan 28. Artemia Fabre Zarandona, Mexico 29. M CHAKMA SHAKYA MITRA, France 30. Oscar Mvano, Democratic Republic of the Congo 31. Ben Levy, New Zealand 32. Jebra Ram Muchahary, India 33. Helena Talang, Bangladesh 34. Satej Chakma, Bangladesh 35. Dilip Chakma, India 36. Dmitry Berezhkov, Russia 37. Priscilla Colodetti, Brazil 38. Anima Baa, India 39. International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission, Bangladesh 40.FIMI, Peru 41. Rabindranath Soren, Bangladesh 42. JPNK, South Korea 43. Pallab Chakma, Bangladesh 44.Sanatbek Iuldashev, Kyrgyzstan 45. Durga Mani Rai, Nepal 46.Bouba Njobdi Amadou, Cameroon 47. Fidèle MBILIZI MUTIMANWA, Democratic Republic of the Congo 48.Prafulla Samantara, India 49. Nukila Evanty, Indonesia 50. Fulda graduate center of social sciences (fgcss), Germany 51. Nhek Sarin, Cambodia 52. PRABHAT KUSUM CHAKMA, Japan 53. BASAVI KIRO, India 54. Juana Vera Delgado, Netherlands 55. Laurie Ferguson, Australia 56. Julie Fletcher, Australia 57. Priyanka Tanchangya, Austria 58. Miriam Anne Frank, Austria 59. Anwesha Chakma, Bangladesh 60. Narrattam, Bangladesh 61. Sajib Chakma, Bangladesh 62. Tapan Chakma, Bangladesh 63. Debapriyo Chakma, Bangladesh 64.Bakul chakma, Bangladesh 65. TISEL CHAKMA, Bangladesh 66. MD.Arfin Hossain, Bangladesh 67. Animesh Dewan, Bangladesh 68. Olive dewan, Bangladesh 69. Swarna, Bangladesh 70. upam chakma, Bangladesh 71. Upam chakma, Bangladesh 72. Jewel, Bangladesh 73. Nirjhor Chakma, Bangladesh 74. Rani Yan Yan, Bangladesh 75. adi chakma, Bangladesh 76. Milon Chakma, Bangladesh 77. MARMA TURI DIVYA, Bangladesh 78. Segulo, Bangladesh 79. Haphang, Bangladesh 80.Brajendu Shekar Chakma, Bangladesh 81. Tusar Kanti Chakma, Bangladesh 82. Suborno, Bangladesh 83. Joyee Chakma, Bangladesh 84.Sultana Kamal, Bangladesh 85. Instituto AmazoniAlerta, Brazil 86. Elaine Pereira, Brazil 87. Serges Claver Nzisabira, Burundi 88.Sithuan CHIN, Cambodia 89. Priti Bindu Chakma, Canada 90. Mangal kanti chakma, Canada 91. Bijubi Chakma, Canada 92. Yannick LOKIMA, Democratic Republic of the Congo 93. Innocent Bisimwa, Democratic Republic of the Congo 94.CHAKMA, France, Metropolitan 95. Barbara Hermanns, Germany 96. Narendra chakma, India 97. Bishnu chakma, India 98. Sumiron Chakma, India 99. Tushar ChakmaIndiaIn, India 100. F.Ashim Chakma, India 101.Purno, India 102. Shanti Bijay Chakma, India 103. Rohit chakma, India 104. Shanti Bikash Chakma, India 105. Suman Chakma, India 106. Satesh chakma, India 107. Dr. Jyoti Bikash Chakma, India 108. Sahoji chakma, India 109. Anny Chakma, India 110.Bhaban Chakma, India 111. Dharosh Chakma, India 112.Krishna Bikash Tongchangya, India 113. Joyason Chakma, India 114.Biresh Kumar, India 115.Ashim Chakma, India 116.Sikkya Bushan, India 117. Paritosh Chakma, India 118.Bhante Sugatananda, India 119.Prabudh Singh, India 120. Kripa chakma, India 121.Lokhi Bushan Chakma, India 122. Piyush Shrivastava, India 123. Turja Chakma i, India 124. Ashutosh Chakma, India 125. Sentinaro, India 126. Rizki Estrada, Indonesia 127. Fatima salomoni, Iran 128. Annait, Iran 129. MANUEL MAY CASTILLO, Mexico 130. Peter Suante, Myanmar 131.Kamala Thapa, Nepal 132. Suresh Tamang, Nepal 133. Rajani Maharjan, Nepal 134. Maryam, Nigeria 135. Erica Rabe, South Africa 136. Liton chakma, South Korea 137. Kala chan chakma, South Korea 138. Arpan Chakma, South Korea 139. Anymoy Chakma, South Korea 140. Mangala sishu chakma, South Korea 141.KAVIRAJ SANTAYANA, United Kingdom 142. Kim Mignocchi, United States 143. Basim Shah Mahmood, United States 144. Mousum Chakma, United States 145. Cynthia Cheyne, United States 146. Cornelia Flora, United States 147. María Cantone, Uruguay ** and 40 undisclosed individuals.

Countries: 1. Australia 2. Austria 3. Bangladesh 4. Brazil 5. Burundi 6. Cambodia 7. Cameroon 8. Canada 9. China 10. Democratic Republic of the Congo 11. Denmark 12. Ecuador 13. El Salvador 14. France 15. France, Metropolitan 16. Germany 17. India 18. Indonesia 19. Iran 20. Italy 21. Japan 22. Kyrgyzstan 23. Malaysia 24. Mexico 25. Myanmar 26. Nepal 27. Netherlands 28. New Zealand 29. Nigeria 30. Pakistan 31. Peru 32. Philippines 33. Russia 34. South Africa 35. South Korea 36. Spain 37. Sweden 38. Switzerland 39. Uganda 40. United Kingdom 41. United States 42. Uruguay. 

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