International Women’s Day in Rangamati: Jumma women fallen prey to deprivation for not having CHT Accord implemented

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Hill Voice, Rangamati, 8 March 2020:  In the discussion meeting organized on the occasion of International Women’s Day by the Parbatya Chattagram Mahila Samity and Hill Women’s Federation on 8 March 2020 in Rangamati, the speakers said that it is due to not having the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord 1997 implemented, the indigenous Jumma women of the hills are being deprived of CHT administrative system. The movement that had to wage by the Jumma women against violation and for their rights before the Accord, even after the Accord, they are bound to continue their movement for the same. The speakers further said that the scale of violence against the Jumma women is the severest of all. Here in CHT, raping, killing, harassment and sexual assault being perpetrated by the outsider settlers upon the Jumma women are in the increase at an alarming state.

“I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights” and “Ensure Equal Rights & Status of Indigenous Women, Join in Greater Movement for Implementation of CHT Accord”- keeping the slogans ahead, a discussion meeting was organized in Rangamati district Shilpakala Academy Auditorium at 10: am, on 8 March. The meeting was chaired by Ms. Rita Chakma, Organizational Secretary of Rangamati District Branch of Mahila Samiti and graced by Advocate Ms. Susmita Chakma, member of Bangladesh Transparency International Trustee Board, Ushatan Talukder Ex-MP and Vice-President of PCJSS; Prakriti Ranjan Chakma, President of Indigenous Peoples’ Forum of CHT Chapter; Bijoy Ketan Chakma, President of M N Larma Memorial Foundation; Asika Chakma, Staff member of PCJSS; Nantu Tripura of Assistant Organizational Secretary of Rangamati District Juba Samity and Jagadish Chakma, General Secretary of Rangamati District Branch of Pahari Chhatra Parishad, as the special guests.

Shanti Devi Chakma, General Secretary of Hill Women’s Federation rendered the welcome speech and the event was moderated by Rina Chakma, leader of the Federation.

Informing the meeting, the Chief Guest Advocate Susmita Chakma said that at present 74 crores of women are being obliged to work under non-formal economic livelihood and may be said, it is they who do not have access to gaining of social security, government services and infrastructure facilities. In contrast to the males, the females devote themselves 2.6 times more to the unpaid and domestic manual work. In every three women, at least one woman falls prey to violation in life. She said further that in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal within 2030, especially, in achieving gender equality and fulfilling the No.5 Goal relating to empowerment of all women and girls, it necessitates to having qualitative change, coordinated initiative and fresh solution.

The special guest Ushatan Talukder said that the hill people are peace-loving, simple and of straight simplicity. The government is rolling political steam roller over the indigenous peoples here. The CHT Accord is not being implemented. On the contrary, Anti-Accord design is being executed. The magnitude of utter negligence has reached to its final limit. If this continues, any undesirable situation can crop up and, in that case,, the government shall have to bear the liability. Calling upon all the concerned, he said: “Come on! Let’s establish peace together.” 

The speakers expressed deep concern and resentment over growing escalation of violence against the indigenous women throughout the country including the Jumma women of CHT day by day. Referring to the Manusher Jonno Foundation Research Report 2019, the speakers said that more than 45% of Jumma women have fallen prey to various violations at their work places or institutional levels.

At the same time, the speakers, also referring to the information of Kapeeng Foundation, a human rights organization, said that from January to December 2019, violations have been perpetrated upon 26 indigenous women. In these crimes, at least 7 indigenous women were raped and 5 indigenous women and adolescents were killed or killed after raping. In 2018, some 53 indigenous women and female children became prey of various violations. Of them, cases of 22 women took place in the plain district while 31 cases occurred in CHT. The speakers also pointed out that justice was made to none of the violations of whatsoever.

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