HWF statement: protesting continued VAIW, demanding arrest of perpetrators and implementation of CHT Accord

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Hill Voice, 18 March 2023, Rangamati: Hill Women’s Federation (HWF) has issued a press statement strongly condemning and protesting the ongoing Violence Against Indigenous Women (VAIW) in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) such as murder, rape, attempt to rape, harassment etc.

Today Saturday (March 18), a press release signed by Ulising Marma, central member of Hill Women’s Federation has made this condemnation and protest and demands.

As mentioned in the press statement, recently there has been an alarming increase in the cases of murder, rape and attempt to rape of indigenous Jumma women in the CHT. In fact, it appears that such incidents one after the other are happening again and again due to the lack of speedy arrest of those responsible for violence against women and failure to ensure proper trial and exemplary punishment of the perpetrators.

It should be noted that on 24 February 2023, an indigenous Marma woman was raped by a Bengali settler Md. Kaiser (38) in Lauzhiri area of Fansiakhali Union in Lama Upazila of Bandarban.

On February 10, 2023, a Jumma schoolgirl (14) studying in 8th grade was raped by some miscreants in turn and attempted to smuggle elsewhere after picking up in Panchari of Khagrachari district and detaining the girl.

On March 3, 2023, an indigenous Chakma woman (25) was attempted to rape in Maischari village by a Bengali Muslim boat driver named Abdul Malek (55) on the Rangamati-Jurachari waterway in Subalong Union of Barkal Upazila under Rangamati district.

On March 5, 2023Champa Chakma (26), a young woman from Bandukbhanga Union of Rangamati, was openly stabbed to death in Dhamairhat area of Rangunia Upazila. She was working as assistant manager of Rangunia branch of a non-governmental humanitarian development organization called Padakshep.

On February 23, 2023, an indigenous woman (45), a government primary school teacher, was raped by Md. Harun-Ar-Rashid (40) of Ward No. 5 of Khagrachari Municipality. On March 14, 2023, she herself filed a case against the rapist Md. Harun-Ar Rashid at Khagrachari Sadar Police Station.

On March 11, 2023, it was alleged that a pregnant indigenous Bawm woman (35) of Tamlou Para of Remakri-Prangsa Union of Thanchi Upazila under Bandarban District was harassed and tortured by the army personnel taking her to the local army camp.

The statement further mentioned that police arrested only one of the six incidents, namely Md. Kaiser, accused of raping the indigenous woman in Lama’s Fansiakhali, after strong protest of mass people, but police are yet to arrest any of the criminals involved in the other violent incidents.

In the statement, the Hill Women’s Federation made the following demands to the government and administration to take measures to prevent the violence against indigenous Jumma women and girls:

  1.  The rapists and the accused should be immediately arrested and properly prosecuted.
  2.  The CHT Accord should be properly implemented by announcing a roadmap without delay for the sake of security of indigenous Jumma women and girls and their access to justice.