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Memo sent by 4 Chakma orgs to two Prime Ministers demanding implementation of CHT Accord

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Hill Voice, 5 September 2022, International Desk: Four Chakma organization have sent memorandum to the Indian Prime Minister Norendra Modi and visiting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina requesting them to take measures for full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord of Bangladesh on the eve of its 25th Anniversary and declare the CHT as a region of peace in South Asia.

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived in New Delhi today (Monday, 5 September) on a four-day visit at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On this eve, four Chakma organizations, namely, Mizoram Chapter of Chakma National Council of India (CNCI), Tripura Rejyo Chakma Gabujyya Jodha, Chakma Hajong Rights Alliance and Chakma Development Foundation of India (CDFI), have sent the said memorandum to the two Prime Ministers today signing by Rasik Mohan Chakma of CNCI, Priya Ranjan Chakma of Gabujyya Jodha, Pritimoy Chakma of Chakma Hajong Rights Alliance and Suhas Chakma of CDFI.

The rights organizations have sought intervention of two Prime Minister for full implementation of the CHT Accord signed on 2 December 1997 and declare the CHT region as a region of peace.

It is stated in the memorandum that though the CHT Accord was signed on 2 December 1997, key provision of the Accord remain unimplemented 25 years after signing of the Accord. The key provision non-implemented at all as on date includes-

(1) handing over of law and order and supervision of the three Hill District Councils of Bandarban, Khagrachari and Rangamati and other related matters to the CHT Regional Council as provided under Section 9 of the CHT Accord;

(2) withdrawal of the Bangladesh Army camps established during the armed conflicts into the three District Headquarters and Alikadam, Ruma and Dighinala cantonments as provided under Section 17 of the CHTs Accord;

(3) resolution of the land disputes through the CHT Land Commission as provided under Section (D) (Gha) Rehabilitation, General Amnesty and Other Matters of the CHT Accord; and

(4) rehabilitation and resettlement of the returnee Jumma refugee from India and internally displaced persons within the CHT as provided under Section (D) (Gha) Rehabilitation, General Amnesty and Other Matters of the CHTs Accord; and

The importance of implementation to the CHT Accord for regional peace and security especially for Bangladesh, India and Myanmar cannot be stressed enough.

In addition to civil unrest of indigenous peoples of CHT collectively known as Jummas, due to non-implementation of the Accord, the CHT is often used by various insurgent groups.

Further, the armed conflicts in the Arakan province of Myanmar bordering the CHT, the expulsion of over 1.5 million Rohingyas to Bangladesh by Myanmar and the refusal of the military junta Government of Myanmar to repatriate any of these Rohingya refugees make the CHT the source of regional instability conflicts.

In fact, peace in the region can be assured only through joint efforts of Bangladesh and India and meaningful participation of the indigenous Jumma people in these efforts by empowering them for self-governance through full implementation of the CHT Accord.

It is not in the interests of Bangladesh, India and indigenous Jumma peoples to have active civil unrests in the CHT region or allow the region to be used for various insurgency activities.

With this backdrop, the 4 Chakma organizations made appeal to the two Prime Ministers take measures for full and effective implementation of the CHT Accord pertaining to non-implemented key provisions mentioned above. In this regard, the Government of India should extend technical assistance if so required and desired by the government of Bangladesh, Chakma leaders emphasized.

The Chakma organizations are of opinion that the government of India should declare an economic package to assist the Government of Bangladesh for effective implementation of the CHT Accord including for rehabilitation and resettlement of the returnee Jumma refugees from India and internally displaced person within the CHT in line with similar economic assistance provided by India to the internally Displaced Person of Sri Lanka following the end of the armed conflicts with the ethnic Tamils.

Finally, the rights bodies further emphasized that the Government of Bangladesh should initiate processes with the Jana Samhati Samiti, the signatory to the CHT Accord and all other stakeholders of indigenous Jumma peoples to end civil unrest in the CHT region and facilitate establishment of the implementation of the peace including through evaluation of the implementation of the 1997 Accord and take other measure necessary for establishing regional peace and security.

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