Jumma peoples of CHT is a victim of govt’s broken promises & fraud: says Augustina Chakma at EMRIP

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Hill Voice, 20 July 2023, International Desk: Augustina Chakma, a representative of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), said at the 3rd day meeting of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) in Geneva that the indigenous Jumma peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) have been victims of broken promises and deception by the government.

PCJSS representative Augustina Chakma said these opinions while presenting a statement on Agenda Item 10: Intersessional Activities and Follow-up to Past Studies and Advice at the 3rd day meeting of the 16th session of Emrip held in Geneva yesterday, July 19, 2023.

The 16th session of the United Nations EMRIP started on July 17 and will continue until July 21. The full text of the Statement of Augustina Chakma is given below-

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UNITED NATIONS, Sixteenth session 17-21 July 2023, Item 10: Intersessional Activities and Follow-up to Past Studies and Advice Tuesday 18 July, 2023.

Statement by: Augustina Chakma, Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), Bangladesh, E-mail: pcjss.org@gmail.com , priti_chakma@yahoo.ca

Thank you, Chair, for giving me the floor.

Today, I address this esteemed council with a plea to address the challenges faced by indigenous peoples. Treaties, agreements, and constructive arrangements between states and indigenous communities hold immense promise.

Last year, the Expert Mechanism rightly recognized the significance of this matter and called for a study to explore its complexities. However, we cannot stop at study alone. The true test lies in the implementation of these treaties and agreements.

It is disheartening to witness the countless countries that have signed these agreements, only to fall short when it comes to honoring their commitments.

Let us consider the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord in Bangladesh—an emblem of hope that remains unfulfilled. Despite the passage of 26 long years since its signing in 1997, the government has failed to uphold two-thirds of its clauses, including critical provisions.

The land issue that plagues the CHT persists, denying indigenous peoples their rightful heritage. Demilitarization, a central aspect of the agreement, remains a distant reality. The indigenous Jumma people of the CHT have become victims of broken promises and government deceit.

But we cannot allow this injustice to persist. We must rise above complacency and take bold action. We must demand accountability and challenge the Bangladesh government to fulfill their commitment. It is time to breathe life into the CHT Accord, transforming them from mere words on paper into tangible realities that uplift and protect the indigenous Jumma community.

I urge this council to put pressure on prioritizing the implementation of treaties and agreements, infusing them with purpose and ensuring that the rights and well-being of indigenous peoples are safeguarded.

Thank you.