For the respect of the 1997 Peace Accord in Bangladesh!
Speak up for the Jumma peoples of Bangladesh!
Let’s together ask Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms. Sheikh Hasina, to put an end to human rights violations in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and to respect her promise to fully implement the resolutions of the 1997 Peace Accord.
Sign the petition to highlight the situation of the Jumma peoples in Bangladesh and to put pressure on the government.
The Jummas, indigenous peoples from Bangladesh
The Jummas, collective noun given to the eleven indigenous peoples of the region of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in southeastern Bangladesh, are ethnically, culturally and linguistically different from the majority of the Bangladeshi population. The nearly 1 million Jumma peoples live on their traditional lands in the CHT.
Between 1979 and 1984, the government, that consideried the territory of the Jummas as a virgin territory, settled 350,000 to 450,000 poor or landless Bengalis in the region. The Bengali population increased by 150% between 1979 and 1991. Along colonization, indigenous peoples suffered evictions, arson and acts of violence . Sexual assaults on Jumma women and girls were used as a way to terrorize communities and force them to leave their homes. Deprived of their means of subsistence, communities have still not received compensation for the loss of their lands.
The war and the Peace Accord of 1997
The Jummas’ resistance to colonization unleashed a war against the Bangladeshi army (1970s-1997) that resulted in more than 10,000 deaths. The Peace Accord, signed in 1997 under the leadership of the current Prime Minister, Ms. Sheikh Hasina, provided for:
1. the withdrawal of non-permanent military camps in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the ending of the excessive militarization of the region;
2. the restitution of lands confiscated by the army and the settlers to Jumma peoples and the immediate ending of the colonization process;
3. the delegation of power to regional and district-level councils so that Jumma peoples can enjoy greater political autonomy.
Non-enforcement of the Peace Accord
Unfortunately, this accord has not been enforced.
The Jummas, who are a minority in Bangladesh, are still suffering violations of their rights and have few or no access to justice to have them respected. The Special Rapporteur of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Lars-Anders Baer, observed the existence of "arbitrary arrests, torture, killings, harassment of activists and sexual violence" against Jumma peoples.
The Jummas particularly suffer from violence because of an excessive militarization of their territory. According to a UN report, one third of the Bangladesh army is deployed in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, an area which represents only a tenth of the country and 1% of its population. In 2012, the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) estimated that there was one soldier out of 40 citizens in the Chittagong Hill Tracts whereas there was one out of 1,750 citizens in the rest of the country.
Moreover, the Jummas are still being evicted from their lands. Today, they constitute a majority in the region but have become minorities within Bandarban district and in every urban municipality. Deprived from their territories and their natural resources, their traditional activities such as harvesting, pasture, hunting, herding and gathering are affected.
published on 19 January
300-kilometre long human chain in the Chittagong Hill Tracts demanding complete implementation of CHT Accord
News published in NewAge on the 18th of January 2016: http://newagebd.net/194543/hill-people-form-300km-long-human-chain-amid-obstruction/#sthash.EmXlVZWB.dpuf
New Age photo
People in Chittagong Hill Tracts formed a 300-kilometre long human chain amid obstruction from administration demanding complete implementation of CHT Accord and establishing a separate land commission for ethnic people in plain lands.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts Citizens Committee, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum and CHT Headmen’s Network organised the human chain that spanned from Dudukchara of Panchari in Khagrachari to Gundhum of Naikhyangchari of Bandarban from 10:00am to 11:00am.
Reports from Khagrachari said police and military barred the hill people to form human chain at places in the town and elsewhere in the district. At Mahajan Para and Chengi Square of Khagrachari town, police did not allow the locals to form human chain and snatched away their banner. At Maischari, soldiers beat up three youths when they tried to stand on Rangamati-Khagrachari road.
The organizers said the programme was arranged to protest against the government’s deceiving people by providing wrong information about the implementation of the CHT accord. They said there was no move to implement the basic aspects of the accord rather initiatives against the treaty was on.
published on 30 October
published on 28 September
Laurie Fergison, Australian MP, staunch supporter of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord 1997