PCJSS Representative delivers speech on Six Mandated Areas (Item-4) of UN Permanent Forum

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Hill Voice, 20 April 2024, International Desk: Manojit Chakma, a representative of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), called for the protection and promotion of the human rights of the indigenous Jumma people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) by stopping militarization and criminalizing rights activists and implementing the CHT Accord soon.

Yesterday (April 19, Friday) Mr. Chakma said this while discussing “Item 4: Discussion on the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum (economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights), with reference to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

Manojit Chakma, in his statement, said that the human rights situation in Chittagong Hill Tracts or CHT is very fragile as the historic CHT Accord signed in 1997 between the Government of Bangladesh and the PCJSS or Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti has not been properly implemented. Rather, violating the Accord, the government is carrying out massive militarization in the region. The government has turned the CHT region into a large army camp by setting up more than four hundred camps.

The army are creating armed terrorist groups one after another with Indigenous peoples and engaging them in terrorist activities like murder, kidnapping, extortion etc. to thwart PCJSS-led movement of indigenous Jumma people for implementation of the Accord. It is the military as well as the government’s “Divide and Rule policy”.

For example, in April 2023, the army’s created groups shot dead 7 Bawm community’s villagers in Bandarban district under military’s instigation. On the other hand, the army continue to criminalize the individuals and organizations engaged in the movement for implementation of the CHT Accord including members and supporters of the PCJSS entangling them with the terrorist activities of these armed terrorist groups.

The army raid the indigenous Jumma villages, arrest and beat innocent people, many a time send them to jail on false charges, search the houses, kill the people in the name of crossfire, detain illegally and torture them in camps which have become a daily occurrence in the CHT.

Not only that, the army as well as the government are carrying out communal attacks on Jumma people by inciting Muslim Bengali settlers, expropriation of Jumma people’s land, eviction in the name of tourism and various development projects, violence against women etc.

In 2023, there were 240 human rights violations committed by security forces and law enforcement forces, army-backed armed terrorist groups, Muslim Bengali settlers and 1,933 Jumma people were victims of these human rights violations, 64 villages were raided and valuables of 84 houses were ransacked by the army.

As the CHT region is in the volatile situation, one cannot expect a good result of the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum in the CHT.

Finally, Manojit Chakma called upon the Permanent Forum to put diplomatic pressure on the Bangladesh government to respect, protect and promote the human rights of the indigenous Jumma people of CHT by stopping militarization and criminalizing rights activists and implementing the CHT Accord soon.