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Political declaration on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women


 

We, ministers and representatives of Governments,

have gathered at the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995, to undertake a review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, entitled “Women 2000: gender equality, development and peace for the twenty-first century”, including current challenges that affect the implementation of the Platform for Action  and the realization of women’s and girls’ full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls throughout their life cycle, as well as to ensure the acceleration of the implementation of the Platform for Action and to use opportunities in the post-2015 development agenda for the integration of a gender perspective into economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development; and with a commitment to ensuring mainstreaming a gender perspective into the preparations for and the integrated and coordinated implementation of and follow-up to all the major United Nations conferences and summits in the development, economic, social, environmental, humanitarian and related fields so that they effectively contribute to the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;

and therefore we: AD REF

 

 

  1. Reaffirm the Beijing Declaration1 and Platform for Action2, the outcome documents of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly3 and the declarations of the Commission on the Status of Women on the tenth and fifteenth anniversaries of the Fourth World Conference on Women4; AD REF


 

  1. Recognize that the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the fulfilment of the obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women are mutually reinforcing in achieving gender equality, the empowerment of women and girls and the realization of their human rights, and call on states that have not yet done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the Convention and its Optional Protocol; AD REF


 

3. merged with 3ALT and 4: Welcome the progress made towards the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action through concerted policy action at national, regional and global levels; also welcome the review activities undertaken by Governments in the context of the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, noting the contributions of all other relevant stakeholders and the review outcomes; and also look forward to the Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment on 26 September 2015; AD REF


 

5. Express concern that progress has been slow and uneven and that major gaps remain, and obstacles, including, inter alia, structural barriers, persist in the implementation of the 12 critical areas of concern of the Platform for Action, and recognize that twenty years after the Fourth World Conference on Women, no country has fully achieved equality and empowerment for women and girls, that significant levels of inequality between women and men, girls and boys persist globally, and that many women and girls experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, vulnerability, and marginalization throughout their life cycle; AD REF


 

 

7 alt merged with 6 and 7. Recognize that new challenges have emerged and reaffirm our political will and firmly commit to tackle challenges and remaining implementation gaps in all twelve critical areas of concern, which are: women and poverty, education and training of women, women and health, violence against women, women and armed conflict, women and the economy, women in power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, human rights of women, women and the media, women and the environment, and the girl-child; AD REF


 

11. Pledge to take further concrete actions to ensure the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome documents of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly including through strengthened implementation of laws, policies, strategies and programme activities for all women and girls; strengthened and increased support for institutional mechanisms for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls at all levels; the transformation of discriminatory norms and gender stereotypes and the promotion of social norms and practices that recognize the positive role and contribution of women and eliminate discrimination against women and girls; significantly increased investment to close resource gaps, including through mobilization of financial resources from all sources, including domestic resource mobilization and allocation and increased priority to gender equality and the empowerment of women in official development assistance, to build on progress achieved and ensure that official development assistance is used effectively to contribute to the implementation of the Platform for Action; strengthened accountability for the implementation of existing commitments; enhanced capacity building, data collection, monitoring and evaluation, and access to and use of information and communication technologies; AD REF


 

8alt, 9 and 10 merge: Emphasize that the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action is essential for achieving the unfinished business of Millennium Development Goals and for tackling critical remaining challenges through a transformative and comprehensive approach in the post-2015 development agenda; including through the sustainable development goal on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, as proposed by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals in its report which shall be the main basis for integrating Sustainable Development Goals into the post-2015 development agenda, while recognizing that other inputs will also be considered, in the intergovernmental negotiation process at the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, and also through integrating a gender perspective into the post-2015 development agenda; AD REF


 

11.bis Reaffirm the primary responsibility of the Commission on the Status of Women for the follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women and the outcome documents of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, and recall the follow-up work done by the Commission in that regard; and also reaffirm its catalytic role in promoting gender equality and empowerment of women based on the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session and in promoting and monitoring gender mainstreaming within the United Nations system; AD REF


 

12 and 14 merged. Recognize the important role of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and the central role it is playing in supporting Member States, and in coordinating the United Nations system, and mobilizing civil society, the private sector and other relevant stakeholders at all levels in support of the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; and call upon UN-Women and the United Nations system to continue to support the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and its review and appraisal at the international, regional, national and local levels, including through systematic gender mainstreaming, mobilization of resources to deliver results, and monitoring of progress with data and robust accountability systems; AD REF


 

13. Welcome the contributions made by civil society, including non-governmental organizations, women’s and community-based organizations, to the implementation of the Platform for Action, and pledge to continue supporting at local, national, regional and global levels civil society engaged in the advancement and promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls including by promoting a safe and enabling environment for them; AD REF


 

6bis ALT Recognize the importance of the full engagement of men and boys for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and commit to take measures to fully engage men and boys in efforts to achieve the full, effective and accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action;   AD REF


 

15 and 15 ALT merged. Commit to engaging all stakeholders for the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, and call upon them to intensify their efforts in this regard; AD REF


 

16. ALT: Commit to use all opportunities and processes in 2015 and beyond to accelerate and achieve the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in order to achieve concrete results in each review cycle, and strive for the full realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women by 2030. AD REF


 


 


 


 


 

1  Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, 4-15 September 1995 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.96.IV.13), chap. I, resolution 1, annex I.

2  Ibid., annex II.

3  General Assembly resolution S-23/2, annex, and resolution S-23/3, annex.

4  See Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 2005, Supplement No. 7 (E/2005/27), chap. I.A. and E/2010/27

We, the indigenous women of the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Arctic, and the Pacific, recalling the Fourth World Conference on Women organized in Beijing by the United Nations, assemble once more to reaffirm the advancements we have achieved during the past twenty years in terms of political advocacy at an international level.1.

 

Firstly, we highlight the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Outcome Document adopted at UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. (A/RES/69/2).

 

We also highlight the two resolutions on indigenous women approved by the CSW: “Indigenous women: beyond the ten-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action”, which urges the adoption of measures that ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous women in all aspects of society2; and “Indigenous women: key actors in poverty and hunger eradication”3, which urges States and agencies of the United Nations system to adopt measures aimed at promoting the empowerment of indigenous women and the realization of our rights.

 

Notwithstanding the aforementioned advancements, 20 years after Beijing, the rights of indigenous women continue to be infringed upon in the majority of our countries and territories.

 

Thus, we urge Member States to include in the outcome document of the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women the following priorities:

 

  1. To promote the generation of data disaggregated by ethnicity and gender; as well as to allocate budget to design and to monitor holistic indicators of indigenous peoples’ well-being4.

  2. To examine the distinctive features of violence against indigenous women, in consultation with the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and other special procedures mandate holders within their respective mandates5.

  3. We invite the Commission on the Status of Women to consider the issue of the empowerment of indigenous women at a future period of sessions6.

  4. We recommend advocacy in favour of the empowerment of indigenous women and the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes designed to promote capacity-building and to strengthen their leadership, in collaboration with indigenous peoples, in particular indigenous women and their organizations. We urge states to honour their assumed commitments aimed at developing measures that ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous women in decision-making processes at all levels and in all areas, and to eliminate barriers to their participation in political, economic, social and cultural life7.

  5. We recommend the formulation of policies for the economic empowerment of indigenous women, bearing their traditional knowledge in mind and improving their Access to resources in equal condition, including allocation of specific Budget for Indigenous women.

  6. We urge to consider all of the rights of indigenous peoples in the elaboration of the post 2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals8.

7. We recommend the agencies created by virtue of international human rights treaties, specially The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to examine the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples within the frame of their respective mandates. We encourage Member States to include, where appropriate, information on the situation of Indigenous women, including measures adopted to attain the goals of the Declaration, in the reports that they present to those agencies and in the universal periodic review process9.

 

Further information:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / www.fimi-iiwf.org

1 E/C.19/2014/CRP.1

2 Resolution E/2005/27

3 Resolution E/CN.6/2012/L.6

4 A/RES/69/2, 10

5 A/RES/69/2, 19

6 A/RES/69/2, 19

7 A/RES/69/2, 17.

8 A/RES/69/2, 37.

9 A/RES/69/2, 29

Throughout the month of January 2015, two indigenous people including a woman were stabbed to death. The woman was allegedly killed after rape or an attempt to rape her. Six indigenous women and girls were subjected to sexual violence across the country. Among them, five victims including a 7-year old girl were raped and another one was attempted to be rape. In an incident, mother and daughter together were gang raped.

 

Besides, two massive communal attacks on indigenous peoples was taken place in January 2015. In these attacks, around 28 houses of indigenous peoples were burnt to ashes and at least 70 houses were vandalised and looted. In addition, 20 indigenous people were wounded and 19 indigenous villagers were arrested by the police. In addition, a land grabbing incident was taken place in this month.

 

Killing of indigenous student and woman:

 

On 9 January 2015 Bablu Hembrom, 25, an indigenous student of Rajshahi Government College, was brutally hacked to death in Tanore under Rajshahi district. A case was filed by Mohesh Hembrom, father of the deceased. However, police did not arrest any culprit.

 

On 30 January 2015, an indigenous Khasi girl named Monalisa Nongprot, 18, daughter of late John Potham, from Gandhai Punji under Baralekha upazilla of Moulvibazar district was found dead in the Gandhai Punji areas. It is alleged that she was stabbed to death by miscreant(s). Lean Nongkrot, maternal uncle of the victim, filed a case with Borolekha police station. However, police is yet to trace and take actions against the perpetrators.

 

Violence against indigenous women:

 

On 6 January 2014 an indigenous Bagdi women along with her daughter was gang raped beside of their own home at Brittidanga village of Sarisha Union under Pangsha upazilla in Rajbari district. The perpetrators were identified as Safin Sheikh, younger brother of acting Union Parishad (UP) member Sohrab Hossain, Oli Sarder, 28, Saddam, 22, and Ziarul. The victims have filed a case (no 3, date 10/01/2015, under section 7/9(3)/30) against the perpetrators named Safin Sheikh (25) and other 4 person with Pangsha police station. Police arrested the main accused Safin Sheikh and they are trying to arrest the rest of the culprits. After filing the case, the perpetrators are giving death threats to the victims for withdrawing the case.

 

On 14 January 2015 a 7-year-old Marma girl studying in grade II at Kashkhali Primary School was allegedly raped by a Bengali settler named Ayub Ali, 45, son of Khondoker Sururj Mia of Kashkhali village under Kaukhali upazilla in Rangamati district. Police held alleged perpetrator after identified by the victim herself. The doctors in Rangamati General Hospital further referred the victim to Chittagong Medical College Hospital for her better treatment. On 15 January at around 2:00 pm the victim underwent a successful operation.

 

On 27 January 2014 a 16-year Jumma girl was attempted to rape by construction labourer named Md. Habib at Sapmara under Matiranga upazila in Khagrachari district. The perpetration was caught red handed while trying to rape the girl. In a local arbitration, negotiation was taken to fine Md. Habib with BDT 10,000 and to quit him from Khagrachari district.

 

On 28 January 2015, a 20-years-old indigenous Marma girl with disablity was allegedly raped at Pankhaya Para under Khagrachari sadar in Khagrachari district by a miscreant named Deba Bikash Barua, from Mahalchari upazila under Khagrachari district. A case (Case no. 09, dated 28/01/2015) has been filed under Women and Children Repression Prevention Act at Khagrachari sadar police station. Locals caught and handed the perpetrator over to the police. Victim was admitted to Khagrachari sadar hospital for her treatment.

 

On 28 January 2015 at around 12:00 am, an indigenous Bawm girl, 16, was allegedly raped by a Bengali settler named Salahuddin Bappi, 23, at No. 1 Ghat areas under Ruma upazila under Bandarban district. Victim was rescued at around 1:00 am by the locals. Locals also caught and handed over the perpetrator to the police. Victim was admitted to the Bandarban General Hospital for medical examinations. Lianthan Bawm, father of the victim, filed a case with under Women and Child Repression Prevention Act.

 

Communal attack:

 

On 10 January 2015, inauguration of Rangamati Medical College ignoring mass disapproval sparked fresh conflicts throughout the Rangamati town. In a stage, the conflicts turned into Jumma-Bengali communal clashes for 10-11 January 2015. In this violence, at least 30 persons including more than 20 Jummas were injured on 10 January and at least 7 Jummas sustained injuries and three houses including two houses belonging to indigenous Jummas were burnt to ashes.

 

On 24 January 2014 an indigenous Santal village named Chirkuta (Habibpur) under Mostafapur union of Parbotipur upazila in Dinajpur district went under attack allegedly by a group of Bengali land grabbers. The land grabbers looted and vandalized all the houses and belongings of indigenous peoples, leaving all indigenous families literally destitute.

 

Earlier in December 2014, two communal attacks were taken place. In Bogochari-Naniarchar attack on 16 Deceember, 57 houses were set on fire and in Basanya Adam attack in Longadu upazila on 12 December, 54 Jumma people were physically assaulted.

 

Land grabbing:

 

Recently, an influential local leader of ruling party named Liakat Ali allegedly grabbed land belonging to Chhamin Khasia, daughter of of Mokam Punji under Jaintiapur upazila in Sylhet district. Also, there are allegations that Liakat Ali has been continuously intimidating and harassing indigenous villagers of Mokam Punji in this connection.

 

It is learnt that on 4 January 2015 in the morning, as per direction of Liakat Ali, the General Secretary of Awami League, Jaintiapur upazila unit, a gang of land grabbers composed of nine persons chopped down nearly a hundred betel nut trees of paan jum (betel leaf garden), traditionally the main source of livelihood of indigenous Khasi people, a traditional source of livelihood, of Khasi villagers of Mokam Puni with the intention to grab nearly four acres of the land of Chhamin Khasia. The next day, on 5 January, the same land grabber gang brought around 20-25 trucks of rocks and dumped the paan jum as per Liakat’s direction. While doing so, the miscreants dumped the rocks on the lands of nine indigenous Khasi families living near the vicinity of the paan jum. When indigenous peoples tried to obstruct and remove some rocks from there, they were threatened to be slayed by the gang of Liakat (Please visit www.kapaeeng.org for detailed report).

 

In Moulvibazar district, recently Jhimai Tea Garden authorities decided to cut down around 2,000 trees on a land, ownership of which is being claimed both by the garden owner and Khasi community. The 71 Khasi families in Jhimai Punjee claimed that they have been paying taxes on the land and if the trees are felled, betel leaves which they have been cultivating there will get destroyed.

 

In Joypurhat district, a group of land grabbers namely Md. Solaiman Ali, Montu, Sadek Ali and Md. Azad have been trying to occupy homesteads of 7 families of Munda (Pahan) communities at West Shiyan Para under Akkelpur in Joypurhat district. The land grabbers filed a case against the indigenous families with Akkelpur police station. With an aim to harass indigenous families, the police also charged Madhab Pahan s/o Ghataru Pahan for steeling cell phone set from him on 19 January. Now, the Munda families are passing days with insecurity.

 

Source:

Kapaeeng Foundation

(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Shalma Garden, House # 23/25, Road # 4, Block # B, PC Culture Housing, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Telephone: +880-2-8190801

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Web: www.kapaeeng.org

On 24 January 2014 an indigenous Santal village named Chirkuta (Habibpur) under Mostafapur union of Parbotipur upazila in Dinajpur district went under attack allegedly by a group of Bengali land grabbers. The land grabbers looted and vandalized all the houses and belongings of indigenous peoples, leaving all indigenous families literally destitute.

 

It is learnt that on the day of incident at around 7.30 am, Zahurul Islam (50) and his brother Ziarul Mandal, both sons of late Mohammad Ali, from Habibpur under Parbotipur upazila in Dinjapur district went to work on 19 acres land of Joseph Tudu and his family. When Joseph Tudu and his family members came to know about the incident, they tried to stop alleged land grabbers and some altercation took place between two groups. At some point around a dozen of Bengalis joined in favor of Jahurul’s family and the feud turned violent. As a result, some Santals villagers were forced to shot arrows in order to defend themselves. Later, Zahurul's son Safiul Islam Sohag (22) was found dead. Besides, some Santal villagers namely Rakib Tudu, Ruben Tudu and Kablu Tudu were injured in the clash.

 

After learning about the incident, hundreds of Bengalis encircled whole Chirakuta village with locally made weapons including ramda, machete, sharp knife, and dagger. However, they did not attack until police held 19 Santal men. After police took those people, the assailants broke over the Santal houses — they set fire on at least 25 houses and vandalized 65 houses of Santal villagers and looted all the belongings of indigenous villagers including food, kitchen utensils, furniture, cattle and tube wells, leaving each and every indigenous family literally destitute. The attackers also set fire on a primary school run by Caritas-Bangladesh. Beside, in the attack, one Mikhalina Murmu (28), a pregnant indigenous woman, and one Mikhael Tudu were tortured and survived serious injury. Both of them were later admitted to Dinajpur sadar hospital.

 

Mahmudul Hoque (29), the uncle of Saiful Islam Sohag, filed a case (case No. 22, dated 24/01/14) with Parbotipur police station against indigenous Santals accusing named 28 and 14 unanimous indigenous persons. On the other hand, a Santal woman victim named Nilima Hembrom filed a case (case No. 29, dated 28/01/2014) against 76 identified Bengali persons and many unknown persons with Parbotipur police station in connection with this incident.

 

Police has not arrested any of the attackers as of yet, although all the 19 indigenous persons who were held by the police earlier have remained under the custody of the police except for Antineus Tudu, a candidate of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination, whose exam is scheduled to be held from 2nd February 2015. On 29 January, the court granted bail to until the SSC examination period.

 

It is mentionable that Zahurul Islam has been claiming his ownership over the land of Joseph for last few years. In this situation several talks and arbitrations took place between Joshep Tudu and Zahurul Islam. The local UP chairman, police and other villagers also joined the talks. Every time Joseph Tudu showed land documents whereas Zahurul Islam failed to show any.

 

On 27 January, a three-member probe committee was formed by Shamim Al Razi, the Deputy Commissioner of Dinajpur district to investigate the incident. The probe committee is supposed to submit their probe report within 15 days since the formation of the committee. The members of this team are Touhidul Islam, Additional District Magistrate, Dinajpur; Sushanta Sarkar, Assistant Superintendent of Police (Sadar circle), Dinajpur; and Jahangir Alam, Assistant Commissioner of Land, Parbotipur upazilla.

 

On 25 January, an onsite enquiry team of Jatiya Adivasi Parisad (JAP) visited Chirakuta village. The team found obvious signs of demolition of indigenous houses including remnants of clay-made walls, ashes, charcoal and other debris from burning. They also found that all the indigenous men fled the village and all the young girls were sent to their relatives’ elsewhere allegedly due to the fear of police arrest and further attack by the Bengalis.

 

The investigation team of JAP found the evidence that the case of land grabbing was turned into a communal attack. They also claimed that although the clash was between two families, other Bengali people who were incited to make this brutal attack on indigenous Santals.

 

Different citizen groups and indigenous peoples’ organizations condemned the brutal attack on indigenous Santals of Chirakuta and demanded to bring all the perpetrators to justice. Indigenous peoples organizations including Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, JAP, Kapaeeng Foundation, and Bangladesh Indigenous Students Action Forum staged demonstrations to protest against the attack.

 

Name of Santal villagers against whom land grabbers filed cases and among them police held 19 persons from sl. 1 to 19 villagers:

1. Barnabas Tudu, 40,

2. Habil Tudu, 55, both son of Late Manir Tudu

3. Antinues Tudu, 22,

4. Emelius Tudu, 20, both son of Josef Tudu

5. Jibon Hembrom, 22, son of Vadu Hembrom

6. Khalil Tudu (Ripan), 25, son of unknown

7. Lazarus Tudu, 20, both son of Habil Tudu

8. Juwel Tudu, 22,

9. Bifol Mardi, 20, son of Noren Mardi

10. Noren Mardi, 51,

11. Mosoi Tudu, 58, son of late Mohon Tudu

12. Chelsu Hembrom (Rengta), 45,

13. Renatus Hembrom, 40, both son of late Regna Hembrom

14. Rakib Murmu, 32, son of Suren Murmu

15. Romesh Soren, 50, son late Dhanai Soren

16. Alfaskius Tudu, 43,

17. Karlus Tudu, 30, both son of Gonesh Tudu

18. Bachu Barman, 38, son of late Ghutu Barman

19. Hayus Tudu (Thosa), 42, son of Churkai tudu

20. Josef Tudu, 55,

21. Mikhael Tudu, 45, both son of late Raghunath Tudu

22. Aihas Tudu, 45, son of Churkai Tudu

23. Kistu Tudu, 35, son of late Sam Tudu

24. Gudai Tudu, 58, son of late Manir Tudu

25. Srimon Tudu, 35,

26. Noren Mastar, 42,

27. Vadu Hembrom, 50, son of late Chotu Hembrom

28. Benedic Tudu, 25

 

Please visit for following for lList of loses of indigenous Santal villagers of Chirakuta village under Parbotipur upazilla in Dinajpur: www.kapaeeng.org

 

Kapaeeng Foundation

(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Shalma Garden, House # 23/25, Road # 4, Block # B, PC Culture Housing, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Telephone: +880-2-8190801

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Web: www.kapaeeng.org

On 24 January 2014 an indigenous Santal village named Chirkuta (Habibpur) under Mostafapur union of Parbotipur upazila in Dinajpur district went under attack allegedly by a group of Bengali land grabbers. The land grabbers looted and vandalized all the houses and belongings of indigenous peoples, leaving all indigenous families literally destitute.

 

It is learnt that on the day of incident at around 7.30 am, Zahurul Islam (50) and his brother Ziarul Mandal, both sons of late Mohammad Ali, from Habibpur under Parbotipur upazila in Dinjapur district went to work on 19 acres land of Joseph Tudu and his family. When Joseph Tudu and his family members came to know about the incident, they tried to stop alleged land grabbers and some altercation took place between two groups. At some point around a dozen of Bengalis joined in favor of Jahurul’s family and the feud turned violent. As a result, some Santals villagers were forced to shot arrows in order to defend themselves. Later, Zahurul's son Safiul Islam Sohag (22) was found dead. Besides, some Santal villagers namely Rakib Tudu, Ruben Tudu and Kablu Tudu were injured in the clash.

 

After learning about the incident, hundreds of Bengalis encircled whole Chirakuta village with locally made weapons including ramda, machete, sharp knife, and dagger. However, they did not attack until police held 19 Santal men. After police took those people, the assailants broke over the Santal houses — they set fire on at least 25 houses and vandalized 65 houses of Santal villagers and looted all the belongings of indigenous villagers including food, kitchen utensils, furniture, cattle and tube wells, leaving each and every indigenous family literally destitute. The attackers also set fire on a primary school run by Caritas-Bangladesh. Beside, in the attack, one Mikhalina Murmu (28), a pregnant indigenous woman, and one Mikhael Tudu were tortured and survived serious injury. Both of them were later admitted to Dinajpur sadar hospital.

 

Mahmudul Hoque (29), the uncle of Saiful Islam Sohag, filed a case (case No. 22, dated 24/01/14) with Parbotipur police station against indigenous Santals accusing named 28 and 14 unanimous indigenous persons. On the other hand, a Santal woman victim named Nilima Hembrom filed a case (case No. 29, dated 28/01/2014) against 76 identified Bengali persons and many unknown persons with Parbotipur police station in connection with this incident.

 

Police has not arrested any of the attackers as of yet, although all the 19 indigenous persons who were held by the police earlier have remained under the custody of the police except for Antineus Tudu, a candidate of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination, whose exam is scheduled to be held from 2nd February 2015. On 29 January, the court granted bail to until the SSC examination period.

 

It is mentionable that Zahurul Islam has been claiming his ownership over the land of Joseph for last few years. In this situation several talks and arbitrations took place between Joshep Tudu and Zahurul Islam. The local UP chairman, police and other villagers also joined the talks. Every time Joseph Tudu showed land documents whereas Zahurul Islam failed to show any.

 

On 27 January, a three-member probe committee was formed by Shamim Al Razi, the Deputy Commissioner of Dinajpur district to investigate the incident. The probe committee is supposed to submit their probe report within 15 days since the formation of the committee. The members of this team are Touhidul Islam, Additional District Magistrate, Dinajpur; Sushanta Sarkar, Assistant Superintendent of Police (Sadar circle), Dinajpur; and Jahangir Alam, Assistant Commissioner of Land, Parbotipur upazilla.

 

On 25 January, an onsite enquiry team of Jatiya Adivasi Parisad (JAP) visited Chirakuta village. The team found obvious signs of demolition of indigenous houses including remnants of clay-made walls, ashes, charcoal and other debris from burning. They also found that all the indigenous men fled the village and all the young girls were sent to their relatives’ elsewhere allegedly due to the fear of police arrest and further attack by the Bengalis.

 

The investigation team of JAP found the evidence that the case of land grabbing was turned into a communal attack. They also claimed that although the clash was between two families, other Bengali people who were incited to make this brutal attack on indigenous Santals.

 

Different citizen groups and indigenous peoples’ organizations condemned the brutal attack on indigenous Santals of Chirakuta and demanded to bring all the perpetrators to justice. Indigenous peoples organizations including Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, JAP, Kapaeeng Foundation, and Bangladesh Indigenous Students Action Forum staged demonstrations to protest against the attack.

 

Name of Santal villagers against whom land grabbers filed cases and among them police held 19 persons from sl. 1 to 19 villagers:

1. Barnabas Tudu, 40,

2. Habil Tudu, 55, both son of Late Manir Tudu

3. Antinues Tudu, 22,

4. Emelius Tudu, 20, both son of Josef Tudu

5. Jibon Hembrom, 22, son of Vadu Hembrom

6. Khalil Tudu (Ripan), 25, son of unknown

7. Lazarus Tudu, 20, both son of Habil Tudu

8. Juwel Tudu, 22,

9. Bifol Mardi, 20, son of Noren Mardi

10. Noren Mardi, 51,

11. Mosoi Tudu, 58, son of late Mohon Tudu

12. Chelsu Hembrom (Rengta), 45,

13. Renatus Hembrom, 40, both son of late Regna Hembrom

14. Rakib Murmu, 32, son of Suren Murmu

15. Romesh Soren, 50, son late Dhanai Soren

16. Alfaskius Tudu, 43,

17. Karlus Tudu, 30, both son of Gonesh Tudu

18. Bachu Barman, 38, son of late Ghutu Barman

19. Hayus Tudu (Thosa), 42, son of Churkai tudu

20. Josef Tudu, 55,

21. Mikhael Tudu, 45, both son of late Raghunath Tudu

22. Aihas Tudu, 45, son of Churkai Tudu

23. Kistu Tudu, 35, son of late Sam Tudu

24. Gudai Tudu, 58, son of late Manir Tudu

25. Srimon Tudu, 35,

26. Noren Mastar, 42,

27. Vadu Hembrom, 50, son of late Chotu Hembrom

28. Benedic Tudu, 25

 

Please visit for following for lList of loses of indigenous Santal villagers of Chirakuta village under Parbotipur upazilla in Dinajpur: www.kapaeeng.org

 

Kapaeeng Foundation

(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Shalma Garden, House # 23/25, Road # 4, Block # B, PC Culture Housing, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Telephone: +880-2-8190801

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Web: www.kapaeeng.org

Indigenous Bagdi mother and daughter raped by Bengali miscreants at Pangsha in Rajbari

 

On 6 January 2014 an indigenous Bagdi women along with her daughter was gang raped beside of their own home at Brittidanga village of Sarisha Union under Pangsha upoziela in Rajbari district. The victims have filed a case (no 3, date 10/01/2015, under section 7/9(3)/30) against the perpetrators named Safin Sheikh (25) and other 4 person with Pangsha police station.

 

It is learnt that the day of incident, at around 8.30 pm, Safin Sheikh, younger brother of acting Union Parishad (UP) member Sohrab Hossain, Oli Sarder (28), Saddam (22), Ziarul and other 4/5 unidentified persons came to her house and asked them to open the door. The woman was dragged forcefully to a nearby place around 200 yards far from her home, when she opened the door. After a while, they also dragged her daughter who had come to visit her mother two weeks before from her in-laws house. Then, Safin and Oli forcefully raped both mother and daughter and fled away. However, after few hours, the gang led by Safin and Oli came again and they forcefully took mother out of the house and, Shafin and Oli raped the daughter for the second time one after another.

 

Pangsha police station informed that they arrested the main accused Safin Sheikh and they are trying to arrest the rest of culprits. It is notable that after filing the case, the perpetrators are giving threat to the victims for withdrawing the case; otherwise they will burn them alive with petrol. Now the victims are living in serious insecurity.

 

A grade II Indigenous student raped in Kaukhali

 

A 7-year-old Marma girl studying in grade II at Kashkhali Primary School was allegedly raped by a Bengali settler named Ayub Ali, 45, son of Khondoker Sururj Mia of Kashkhali village under Kaukhali upazilla in Rangamati district on 14 January 2015. Police held alleged perpetrator after identified by the victim herself.

 

On 14 January at around 12:00 pm the girl was returning home from school with a friend of her. At some point she went to buy some snacks and got separated from her friend. Then she started walking back home alone. When she arrived at Kashkhali Bangatila area, the alleged perpetrator, Ayub Ali, appeared in the scene and forcefully raped her. Immediately after raping, Ayub Ali fled the scene.

 

After she was raped, the victim managed to reach home with her body soaked in blood, informed her mother. The girl was immediately taken to Kaukhali Upazila Health Complex. As her body was heavily bleeding, the doctors referred her to Rangamati General Hospital at around 4:00 pm. However, the doctors in Rangamati General Hospital further referred the victim to Chittagong Medical College Hospital for her better treatment. Later at around 9:00 pm in the night the girl was admitted to the Emergency Department of Chittagong Medical College Hospital. Later, the doctors transferred her to the Gynecology Department, where she was in close observation for two hours and then transferred to the Children’s Department. On 15 January at around 2:00 pm the victim underwent a successful operation. According to her family members, the victim’s health condition has slightly improved. She was under the supervision at the One-stop Crisis Centre of Chittagong Medical College Hospital up to this writing.

 

Victim’s father filed a case with Kaukhali Police Station on 14 January. Nilu Kanti Barua, Officer in Charge (OC) of Kaukhali Police station, informed that police arrested Ayub Ali on the same day (14 January) in the evening. The victim was produced to the court on 15 January. The perpetrator confessed his misdeed.

 

Being a poor family, victim’s family was unable to bear the expenses related to medical treatment and other costs. Different community people and indigenous student organizations like CHT Hill Students’ Council and Bangladesh Marma Students’ Council came forward in this regard and provided the victims with limited support. Different rights and civic groups have demanded exemplary punishment of the perpetrator.

 

In December 2014, a teen-aged girl killed after raping in Kaptai and two girls were attempted of raping in Khagrachari district

 

On 15 December 2014, a tender-aged Jumma girl identified as Umraching (Atuma)Marma alias Chhobi (15) village ChitmaramKayangGhatunder Kaptaiupazila in Rangamti district was brutally killed on 15 December 2014. It is assumed that UmrachingMarma was killed after raping. The victim had appeared JSC Examination in Chitmaram High School this year.Victim’s father filed a case with Kaptai police station and police arrested two Bengali settlers in connection with this incident.

 

On 19 December 2014 a 2nd year Marma girl of Mahalchari College was attempted to rape by a Bengali settler youth at Kaptai Para near Mahalchari thana brigde under Mahalchari upazila in Khagrachari district. The miscreant was caught by the public and handed over to police. The victim tried to file case, but police of Mahalchari police station denied accepting any case. On the contrary, alleging torture of said settler youth by the public, Bengali settlers brought out procession.

 

On 21 December 2014 a 10-year old Tripura girl (grade V student) named Champa Rani Tripura of SudhilaRanjan Headman Para of Taindong union under Matirangaupazila in Khagrachari district was attempted to rape by Md. BadshahMian (22) s/o Harunur Rashid of Majhpara of same upazila.

 

Babul Hembrom, a Santal student leader killed in Rajshahi

 

Bablu Hembrom, 25, a leader of Santal Students Union and honours fourth-year student of Rajshahi Government College, was hacked to death by unknown miscreants. He was found dead with the throat slit in his house at Moyenpara of Tanore on January 10, 2015.

 

Peaceful Blockade against Medical College Set-up turns Rangamati in Turmoil

 

An all-out dawn-to-dusk road and waterway blockade called on by Chittagong Hill Tracts Hill Students’ Council (popularly known as Pahari Chatra Parishad-PCP) on 10 January 2015 against government’s plan to set-up a medical college in Rangamati has turned this beautiful hill town in turmoil. Due to repeated communal attacks made by hundreds of members of pro-Awami League organizations and Bengali settlers on indigenous peoples, the district administration was compelled to impose section 144 and later curfew in the town.

 

The government’s plan to set up Rangamati Medical Collage and Rangamati University of Science and Technology has been opposed by indigenous peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) including PCP, a representative student organization of indigenous Jumma students of the CHT. PCP leaders argued that if the medical college and university were set up, thousands indigenous and non-indigenous residents of the region would fall victims of serious adverse impacts. Hence, they demanded postponement the Medical College and the University until the CHT Accord of 1997 is fully implemented by the government.

 

Yet, overriding this popular demand of CHT’s inhabitants, the government kicked off intake of students for MBBS first year course and planned to inaugurate Rangamati Medical College on 10 January. The decision of the government agitated the indigenous peoples and citizen groups across the country. To protest the initiative of the government, PCP called on all-out dawn-to-dusk road and waterway blockade program on 10 January throughout Rangamati district.

 

On the day while PCP along with support and participation of students en masse was observing its blockade program, hundreds of members of the Chhatra League, a pro government student organization, Samo Odhikar Andolan and Parbatya Juba Front carried out communal attacks upon the Jumma peoples in different parts of Rangamati town. It all began when the Awami League district committee President, Dipankar Talukder, aboard in his vehicle was passing through Court Building area ignoring the blockade at 9:30 am, instigated the Chatra League members to attack the PCP picketers. The Chhatra League members pelted stones and cocktails at PCP members. As a result, at least 15 persons including Jyotirmoy Chakma, 45; Ripon Chakma, 21; Suresh Chakma, 21; Durjoy Chakma, 25; Mohan Chan Dewan 26; Kanti Chakma, 42; Choto Chakma 28; Moni Chakma, 40; Surjya Chakma, 25; Shyamalendu Chakma, 30; Ankur Bikash Chakma et al sustained serious injuries.

 

Later on the same day, the miscreants of Chhatra League, Samo Odhikar Andolan and Parbatya Juba Front, spreading communal tension, attempted to attack Jummas in different places of Rangamati including Banarupa, Tribal Adam, Ananda Viahara (a Buddhist temple) and Siddhi Bhaban areas. They pelted brick chips upon Jumma-owned shops and Jumma people. In these attacks, Deborshi Chakma, 38; Probin Chakma, 17; Jibanta Tanchangya, 35; Biki Chakma, 25, son of Bimal Kanti Chakma sustained injuries. Among them, Biki Chakma was hacked by attackers leaving serious injuries in head, cheek and abdomen. He has been shifted to Chittagong Medical College in serious condition.

 

As the situation was deteriorating as the time was going by, district administration imposed Section 144 in Ragamati town on 10 January at 11:30 am for an indefinite period. However, this effort of the district administration went in vain as the pro-government organization and organizations of settler Bengalis continued to spread communal tension and make attempts to attack upon indigenous peoples in different parts of the town.

 

On 11 January at around 4:30 pm, Bengali settlers, led by the members of pro-government organizations, made attempts to attack upon indigenous peoples and their shops at Banarupa areas in Rangamati town. Later on the same day violence spread throughout the town and Bengali settlers, led by members of pro-government organizations cracked down on indigenous peoples of Vedvedi, Ananda Vihara, Tabalchari, Reserve Bazar, Public Health area and Kathaltali areas of the hill town. At least 7 indigenous persons namely Samarendu Chakma (25) (an MLSS staff of Deputy Commissioner’s office) at Public Health area; Tarun Bikash Chakma (30) s/o Hengotya Chakma at Vedvedi area; Monikko Dewan Happy (30) w/o Monghla Prue Marma at Tabalchari; Titu Marma (26) and Buddha Moni Chakma (32) s/o Manulal Chakma at Tabalchari were injured. Besides 4 houses including three belonging to indigenous peoples were torched and looted by the miscreants.

 

Considering the situation ‘out-of-control’ Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Rangamati town Shamsul Arefin, in consultation with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, declared curfew beginning from 7:30 pm on 11 January - 8:00 am on 12 January. In order to ‘pacify’ the situation, curfew was scheduled once again from 5:00 pm on 12 January-7:00 am on 13 January 2015. Later on, the Section 144 was withdrawn from 11:00 am on 13 January 2015. People are virtually locked at their homes and most of the shops, marketplaces, offices, banks etc. remained closed.

 

Meanwhile, at least 35 persons have held by police for ‘defying’ Section 144 and curfew. Hundreds of members of Army, RAB, BGB and Police have been deployed in the town since 10 January.

 

Source:

Kapaeeng Foundation

(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Shalma Garden, House # 23/25, Road # 4, Block # B, PC Culture Housing, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Telephone: +880-2-8190801

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Web: www.kapaeeng.org

REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON INDIGENOUS AND LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

 

Delivered on January 12 at the IPBES plenary in Bonn, Germany by Joji Carino and Preston Hardison.

 

  1. We welcome the highly informative progress report of the Task Force on ILK as contained in IPBES/3/ Information Document 2 and we look forward to consideration its deliverables and recommendations at IPBES4.

 

The International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IIFBES) composed of indigenous peoples and local community participants at IPBES wishes to make the following comments and recommendations:

 

  1. IPBES, would be very well served by instituting participatory mechanisms for the effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities. To be fit for purpose, the participatory mechanism must be inclusive of the range of knowledge and experiences contributed by indigenous peoples and local communities across the four IPBES functions. Direct participation of indigenous and local knowledge holders is important for thematic assessments, for example on pollination and pollinators associated with food production; or for methodological assessments, for example on the diverse conceptualization of values of biodiversity and nature’s benefits to people.

 

In addition, the experience and contributions of indigenous researchers, technical experts or leaders, who have engaged governments and scientific bodies to develop appropriate and relevant policies and plans of direct benefit for indigenous peoples and local communities, are equally important for a well-balanced and holistic participatory mechanism within IPBES.

 

  1. IPBES is not a platform for generating primary research, neither of science nor of indigenous and local knowledge. Rather IPBES needs to strengthen its capacity for the inclusion of Indigenous and Local Knowledge (ILK) in its assessments and identification of knowledge gaps, in its capacity-building work, and in its policy support tools for decision-makers on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

 

  1. We call on IPBES to support and recognize local Centres of Expertise on Indigenous and Local Knowledge, which build on the many excellent initiatives undertaken and led by indigenous peoples and local communities in many parts of the world, to revitalize and use ILK to address multiple problems relating to biodiversity and sustainable development. Support for such Traditional Knowledge Centres and networks would help to build the institutional capacity of indigenous peoples and local communities, and can be a wellspring for identifying Indigenous and Local Knowledge experts who can contribute across the range of IPBES functions.

 

  1. The indigenous and local community participants at this meeting would welcome a meeting with members of the Task Force on ILK for exchange of views on its work and to offer our full support in moving forward.

1 December 2014, MANILA – Indigenous women led by Bai Indigenous Women Network (BAI) protested at the Chino Roces Bridge (former Mendiola Bridge) on Thursday, Nov. 27 condemning rights violations committed by state security forces.

 

Wearing their traditional clothes, the Indigenous women of Dumagat, Igorot, Tumanduk, Ayta, and Lumad marched through Mendiola despite the rain.

 

They called for justice for those who were killed and victims of human rights violations as they protect their ancestral land. The women also supported the call for the ouster of President Benigno S. Aquino III who they described as a disaster to the indigenous people for permitting big foreign companies to plunder on the country’s natural resources.

 

The protest action is part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an international campaign in connection with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW). It started on Nov. 25 and ends on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day.

 

With feet red with paint, the indigenous women performed a war dance on an illustration of Aquino. The group said the red footprints symbolized the blood of indigenous women martyrs and the continuing resistance against the killings and the violations of human rights of indigenous peoples committed by the Aquino government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

 

On this day, indigenous women rise for justice. We face the militarization of our communities and suffer from human rights abuses. We are impoverished and made landless because of the plunder of our ancestral lands. These are biggest forms of violence against indigenous women that should be put to an end,” Kakay Tolentino, a member of the Dumagat tribe and the national coordinator of BAI said.

 

Violator of indigenous women’s rights

 

It is the government who is the gross violator of human rights, said Tolentino. She said the Aquino government’s economic policies such as the Public-Private Partnership Program, especially in mining, energy, and other extractive industries, worsen the situation of indigenous women and their families in rural areas.

 

Big businesses in our lands, most often large-scale mining, disrupt and upset the economic situation in indigenous communities. Because feeding and caring for the family fall on the shoulders of indigenous women, they are the first to be burdened by the loss of their land and livelihood,” Tolentino.

 

Jocelyn Agdahan, secretary general of the Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association (Tindoga) said their land is where they get their food, medicines and “hardware” or construction supplies. But the government prefers to have big foreign companies plunder the natural resources in Mindanao, leaving the people poor as big companies have taken away their livelihood. Many were displaced from their communities, and worse, some have been killed for fighting for their right to ancestral lands.

 

Aquino is a disaster. He should be ousted!” Agdahan said during the protest action.
Meanwhile, in the Northern part of the Philippines, Mila Singson, chairwoman of Innabuyog Gabriela, said women and children too have suffered due to the heavy militarization of communities.

 

Singson said in Abra province, communities in the towns of Lacub and Malibcong were bombed by the military. “With the bombings, their routines were ruined. They cannot go to their farms because they are afraid if the soldiers will see them, they will be bombed again,” Singson told Bulatlat.com.

 

Some soldiers also court women leaders to make them stop opposing mining companies from entering their communities. “They know that the women leaders are staunch fighters of their right to land. Some leaders who are in the forefront of the struggle are being wooed by the soldiers.”

 

Singson, who is from the Guinaang tribe in Kalinga province, also experienced harassment from state security forces in April for actively opposing mining in her community.

 

We opposed the entry of Makilala Mining Company in our company. They used the paramilitary forces and the intelligence units of the military against me. They vilified me in the community. They threatened to bomb us – me and my relatives — if we are not going to let the mining company enter our community.”
The indigenous women have filed cases before the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) and submitted their case in the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples (UNSRRIP).

 

On the commemoration of International Day against the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW), we demand that any form of violence against women be stopped. Just recently Engineer Fidela Salvador was brutally killed in Lacub, Abra. She was killed for helping the peasant and the indigenous people in Lacub, Abra. We have to seek justice and we will continue to seek it for this senseless killing,” said Singson.

 

Unite and fight’

 

With the continuous mining in our communities, the indigenous women and the whole community continue to fight. Those who are fighting are being killed just like Juvy Capion and her family in 2012. This is the basis why we should unite and fight for our rights,” said Anelfa Hamilo, spokesperson of Kaluhamin-Socksargen.

 

Capion, and her two sons were massacred allegedly by the 26th Infantry Battalion in October 2012 in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

 

The women’s group said that under the Aquino administration, 50 indigenous people have been killed by suspected AFP and paramilitary groups.

 

Of this number six are indigenous women while seven are indigenous children.”

 

BAI also expressed concern over the 55 combat battalions reportedly deployed in Mindano, amounting to 46,000 to 50,000 troops. Just this Oct. 30, the group said 446 families or 2,184 individuals from 14 communities in Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur fled from their homes due to military operations.

 

The militarization of Mindanao will only bring about more killings and violations of human rights among indigenous peoples and other vulnerable sectors. The Aquino administration has turned the island into a warzone, rather than pursue long-lasting peace in Mindanao,” Tolentino said.

 

Source: http://bulatlat.com/main/2014/12/01/16days-indigenous-women-stand-against-all-forms-of-vaw/

On Human Rights Day we speak out.

 

We denounce authorities who deny the rights of any person or group.

 

We declare that human rights are for all of us, all the time: whoever we are and wherever we are from; no matter our class, our opinions, our sexual orientation.

 

This is a matter of individual justice, social stability and global progress.

 

The United Nations protects human rights because that is our proud mission – and because when people enjoy their rights, economies flourish and countries are at peace.

 

Violations of human rights are more than personal tragedies. They are alarm bells that may warn of a much bigger crisis.

 

The UN’s Human Rights Up Front initiative aims to heed those alarms. We are rallying in response to violations – before they degenerate into mass atrocities or war crimes.

 

Everyone can advance the struggle against injustice, intolerance and extremism.

 

I call on States to honour their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year. I call on people to hold their governments to account. And I call for special protections for the human rights defenders who courageously serve our collective cause.

 

Let us respond to the cries of the exploited, and uphold the right to human dignity for all.

 

 

 

Ban Ki-moon

 

http://www.un.org/en/events/humanrightsday/2014/sgmessage.shtml

Dhaka: December 2, 2014. The International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC) has expressed concern over the Government’s lack of political will leading to the failure of full implementation of the CHT Accord 17 years after its signing. The CHTC has called upon the Government to urgently adopt and enforce a roadmap with clear milestones for implementation of the Accord ensuring full participation of all stakeholders.

 

The Awami League signed the Accord together with PCJSS on December 2, 1997 and the present Awami League government has repeatedly pledged to implement the Accord, both nationally through each of its election manifestos to date and internationally during the Universal Periodic Reviews in 2009 and 2013. Yet the state of peace and stability in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) has continued to deteriorate throughout the two terms the government has held office and there have been no efforts to strengthen local institutions and ensure end to land conflict which has led to the deterioration of the human rights situation in the area.

 

Amendment of the HDC Acts and failure to hold elections

 

On November 23, 2014 parliament passed the three Hill District Councils amendment acts despite strong opposition from the indigenous community. The Ministry of CHT Affairs tabled the Rangamati Hill District Council (Amendment) Bill 2014, the Khagrachari Hill District Council (Amendment) Bill 2014 and the Bandarban Hill District Council (Amendment) Bill 2014 on July 1. As a result of passing of these bills the number of interim members of the hill district councils will be increased to 11 from the existing five including three non-indigenous members. By increasing the number of members without an election, the Government has violated the Accord which stipulates the preparation of a voter list comprising only the permanent residents of the three hill districts.

 

The Government should immediately start the work of resolving land disputes in order to authenticate the permanent residents of the CHT and draw up a voter list and hold elections at the Hill District Councils.

 

Failure to amend the Land Commission Act

 

The success of the drawing up of the voter list is directly related to the settlement of the land disputes in the CHT. In the nineteenth session of the 9th National Parliament in October 2013 the Government came close to but failed to pass the Bill on the amendment of the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001. The thirteen points proposed by the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council (CHTRC) and the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MOCHTA) which were approved by the CHT Accord Implementation Committee and adopted by the inter‐ministerial committee were approved by the Cabinet on June 3, 2013 and placed in the House on June 16, 2013. This once again proved the lack of political will of the Awami League Government to fulfill a pledge made to the people during the 2008 election to implement the 1997 CHT Accord. Since resuming office in 2014 the Awami League Government has had absolute majority in Parliament. There seems to be no effective opposition preventing the Government from implementing the Accord in full, it is thus disconcerting that no attempts have yet been made to table the Land Commission Amendment Bill in the Parliament sessions.

 

Failure to end militarism

 

The Government has failed to dismantle all temporary camps as stipulated in the 1997 CHT Accord and the presence of security forces appears to be increasing. In recent years the securitization has also proliferated through other security forces like the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB). There have been allegations of land-grabbing and human rights violations by the BGB in Khagrachari and in Bandarban Sadar.

 

Not only did the Government fail to conduct independent and impartial investigations into these cases, but civil society groups who went to carry out investigations into the allegations were harassed and threatened by Bengali settler groups with clear impunity.

 

Threats and attacks on the CHT Commission

 

The CHT Commission members were attacked and persons in their entourage injured by Bengali settler groups in July 2014 where police failed to apprehend the identified suspects. It appears that there is no freedom to conduct inquiry and express opinion in a democratic manner regarding the complaints of people in the CHT. The Government has also put restrictions on the work of the CHT Commission and protests about such undemocratic restrictions have not been heeded by the Government.

 

On the 17th anniversary of the signing of the CHT Accord the CHT Commission urges the Government to publicly commit to a roadmap with clear milestones on full implementation of the Accord.

 

On behalf of the CHT Commission

Eric Avebury, Co-chair of the CHT Commission

Sultana Kamal, Co-chair of the CHT Commission

Elsa Stamatopoulou, Co-chair of the CHT Commission

....................

 

Kapaeeng Foundation

(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Shalma Garden, House # 23/25, Road # 4, Block # B, PC Culture Housing, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Telephone: +880-2-8190801

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Web: www.kapaeeng.org