PCJSS representative delivers speech at UN Permanent Forum on Agenda Item-5(a)


Hill Voice, 19 April 2024, International Desk: PCJSS representative Chanchana Chakma expressed deep concern over widespread militarization and human rights violations in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). She expressed this concern while discussing Agenda item 5(a): Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples on the 4th day (April 18, Thursday) of the 23rd Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII).

Chanchana Chakma, in her statement, said that “The Permanent Forum’s recommendations hold immense importance, yet I find myself questioning some of the actions of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in implementing them. Take, for example, the recommendations made in 2011 regarding the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord and screening the human rights reports of the military before deploying them to the UN peacekeeping missions. Despite their significance, we remain in the dark about ECOSOC’s follow-up efforts.”

PCJSS representative added that “As a nation, Bangladesh has proudly contributed troops and resources to UN peacekeeping missions worldwide. It’s a source of pride for us, symbolizing our commitment to global peace. However, it’s heart-wrenching to confront the stark reality within our own borders—a reality overshadowed by militarization and conflict. How do we reconcile our role as peacekeepers abroad with the turmoil and suffering faced by our own people at home? It’s a question that weighs heavily on our hearts, stirring emotions of frustration and anguish. We stand as beacons of hope and stability in far-off lands, yet our own communities, particularly the Jummas, are ravaged by unrest and fear.”

Finally, Chanchana Chakma is of the opinion that “Despite the recommendations put forth by the Permanent Forum, the Bangladesh government’s inaction on implementing the CHT Accord is deeply troubling. The continued militarization only serves to exacerbate tensions and perpetuate human rights violations, particularly against indigenous communities. Our hearts ache for our fellow citizens who endure such hardships in the very land we seek to protect. In closing, we must demand answers, accountability, and action. Our people deserve peace—both at home and abroad.”

The 23rd session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues began on Monday (April 15) at the United Nations headquarters in New York. This session will continue till April 26. In addition to representatives of PCJSS Priti B Chakma and Chanchana Chakma, EMRIP member Binotamay Dhamai, Executive Director of Zabarang Kalyan Samiti Mathura Bikash Tripura, Augustina Chakma, Chandra Tripura, Arjyashree Chakma, Twisa Tripura, Tony Chiran, Rajkumari Ayetri Roy, Manojit Chakma are participating in the session.

Among the delegation of the Bangladesh government, the Secretary of the Ministry of CHT Affairs Md. Moshiur Rahman and the Chairman of CHT Development Board Supradip Chakma, the officials of DGFI are participating in the session.