Govt to solve the CHT problem militarily: PCJSS representative at UNPFII

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Hill Voice, 30 April 2022, International Desk: The Bangladesh government is trying to solve the problem of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) through militarization, said representative of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) at the 21st session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues yesterday Friday (29 April).

Participating in the Agenda Item 5: “Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues” through online, representative of the PCJSS Priti Bindu Chakma further said that the army frequently conduct military operations, which lead to extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, house searches, criminalization of human rights activists and violence against indigenous women.

He added that the Bangladesh military forces are the main obstacle in creating peace in the CHT. In other words, the militaries control everything. They even give shelter to five-armed terrorist groups and engage them for conflicts among the Indigenous peoples including killing, abduction, extortion, collection of ransom etc.

Mr. Chakma said, “Yesterday (April 28) I heard the statement given by the delegate of the Bangladesh Government. She said that there was an Accord signed by the Bangladesh government and the indigenous Jumma peoples in 1997 and the Accord has been implemented fully or partially. Being the government delegate, she does not know whether it was implemented fully or partially. It is totally unacceptable.

In fact, only one-third provisions of the Accord have been implemented so far. One of the most important provision of the Accord is that all the temporary military camps are to be closed, but the government has not done it yet. So far only 100 camps out of more than 500 have been withdrawn, and now they have reconstructed or reestablished 20 more new camps during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Priti Bindu Chakma urges the Permanent Forum to motivate the Government of Bangladesh through the United Nations bodies and agencies concerned to implement the CHT Accord and take step to screening of the human rights record of Bangladesh military forces before they go for serving in the UN Peacekeeping Operations.

The 21st session of the United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is convening now from 25 April to 6 May 2022 though in-person and online participation at the UN Headquarters in New York. The session dovetailed with the theme of the Forum’s twenty-first session – ‘Indigenous peoples, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent’ – and start of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032.

From Bangladesh, Agustina Chakma, on behalf of PCJSS, and Chanchana Chakma, on behalf of Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network, are attending the session of the Permanent Forum in-person.