Hill Voice, 18 August 2022, International Desk: The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet called for full implementation of the CHT Accord of 1997 and unrestricted access for independent actors to visit the CHT region.
Michelle Bachelet made this call after ending her official visit to Bangladesh.
In a statement published in the UN website on August 17, 2022, she said, “I stressed the importance of protecting minority groups, such as Hindus and indigenous peoples from violence or land encroachments. The peace accord in the Chittagong Hill Tracts 25 years ago was an important achievement. But given the continued allegations of human rights violations, linked with land disputes and the need for demilitarization, I called for full implementation of the peace accord and unrestricted access for independent actors to visit the area.”
Ms. Michelle Bachelet also said that Bangladesh has a solid framework in its constitution, laws and international commitments to draw from in facing human rights challenges. It is party to all the core UN human rights treaties, except for the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance – which she has called on the Government to ratify.
There are continued, alarming allegations of both short-term and long-term enforced disappearances, and concerns about the lack of due process and judicial safeguards. Particularly given the long-standing frustrations at the lack of progress in investigations and other obstacles to justice, she made encourage the Government to create an independent, specialised mechanism that works closely with victims, families and civil society to investigate allegations of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
She said, “My Office is ready to provide advice on how such a body could be designed in line with international standards.”
Michelle Bachelet also emphasised that as the biggest contributor of uniformed personnel to UN peacekeeping missions, Bangladesh should ensure it has a robust system in place for the careful human rights screening of security personnel.