UN Human Rights Council Elections:
Peer review by the Human Rights Council should not be a task only to be taken up during the sessions of the Human Rights Council but it should start with the election process itself. Those with deplorable human rights record should not be nominated as members of the Human Rights Council.
Asian Centre for Human Rights urges that Bangladesh should not be elected as a member of the Human Rights Council for its dismal record of (1) systematic human rights violations against the indigenous peoples; (2) identifying the minority Hindus as enemies and encouraging mob violence by them with impunity; and (3) destroying the cardinal principles of the rule of law through legalizing extrajudicial executions by the Rapid Action Battalion.
In this weekly ACHR REVIEW, Asian Centre for Human Rights examines the violations of the rights of indigenous Jumma peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
a. Latest Attack at Maischari:
In the morning of 3 April 2006, hundreds of indigenous Jumma peoples at Nua Para and Joysenpara villages in Maischari in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHTs) came under the attack of the illegal plain settlers and security forces. At least 50 Jummas were reportedly injured, many of them seriously, and admitted at Khagrachari hospital. Four indigenous Marma women were raped by the armed attackers allegedly led by Ahad Mian, member of the local Union Council and Mohammad Abu, ex- Union Parishad member. Two of the rape victims were identified as Asian Centre for Human Rights is still waiting for further details.
Asian Centre for Human Rights is still waiting for further details.
Like many other previous attacks, this attack too was carried out with a view to capture the lands of the
The security forces surrounded the villages before the attack and banned entry to the villages following the attack. Not a single culprit has been arrested. The indigenous Jumma villagers have not been able to return because of prevailing fear.
b. Arbitrary arrest and detention
The government of
On 12 January 2006, 35 Jummas were arrested from Ghilachari bazaar and taken to the Ghilachari Army camp under Naniachar Thana in Rangamati district. They were released after intense interrogation.
On 26 February 2006, the army detained Hill Women's Federation activists Jubolika Chakma, Juthika Chakma and Hill Students Council activist Dibakor Chakma for two hours in Kawkhali Army camp for collecting donations for their 8th March International Women's Day Programme.
On 5 March 2006, security forces led by Captain
On 21 March 2006, two Jumma villagers identified as Hindu Kumar Chakma, alias Mejangya (40), son of
On 27 March 2006, Hill Students' Council Lakshmichari unit President,
Torture is routinely practiced by the security forces. The Lakshmichari army zone in particular is notorious for conducting house searches and torturing innocent villagers. In January and February 2006 alone, as many as 25 Jumma people were physically tortured here. For brevity, ACHR only highlights the cases of 2006.
For brevity, ACHR only highlights the cases of 2006.
On 21 February 2006, five Jummas, including a woman, were tortured by the army during a raid at Bandarkaba village in Dullyatoli Union under Lakshmichari. One of the soldiers reportedly fired after resting the barrel of his gun on the solders of
On 12 February 2006, Nilokanto Chakma alias Alpeda, 35, s/o late Soichya Chakma of village Simana Adam was detained and tortured by the army personnel from Lakshmichari zone. The victim was picked up when he was going to Lakshmichari bazaar, blindfolded and beaten up.
On 4 February 2006, the army raided the
On 4 February 2006,
On 2 February 2006, soldiers from Lakshmichari zone camp raided and searched the house of
On 2 February 2006, army personnel detained
On 31 January 2006, Pylhaproo Marma of village Shilachari Para (age 22), son of Ulha Proo Marma was taken to the Lakshmichari Zone camp following a raid by army personnel led by Lakshmichari Zone Adjutant Mustafizur Rahman and brutally tortured for allegedly supporting the UPDF.
On 26 January 2006, Bindu Kumar Chakma (age 25 s/o late Daya Mohan Chakma) was summoned to the Lakshmichari Zonal camp and brutally beaten up when he failed to name UPDF activist Paban's parents.
On the night of 25 January 2006, army personnel led by Adjutant Mustafizur Rahman from Lakshmichari zone beat up several Jumma villagers, ransacked houses and looted valuables during a search operation at Hazachari Para (
d. Land grabbing
While the government of
In 2005, the government acquired 9,650 acres of land in Bandarban, affecting about 1,000 indigenous families; 11,446.24 acres of land in Sualok Union of Bandarban, uprooting 400 indigenous families; and 450 acres of land in Pujgang under Panchari Thana of Khagrachari district, among others, for military purposes. The government had also issued notices for acquisition of 45 acres of land in Babuchara under Dighinala Thana in Khagrachari district, affecting at least 74 Jumma families in three villages; about 183 acres of land in Balaghata in Bandarban district; 19,000 acres of land in Bandarban; 26,000 acres of land in Bandarban for military purposes. The government reportedly acquired a total of 5,600 acres of land in Chimbuk of Bandarban for construction of an
There have been no efforts to restore the land rights of the indigenous Jumma people. The Peace Accord provided for a Land Commission to ''resolve the disputes in consonance with the law, custom and practice in force in the Chittagong Hill Tracts''. But the CHT Land Commission, formed on 3 June 1999, remained ineffective. It even failed to conduct any formal meeting until on 8 June 2005.
e. Why Bangladesh should not be elected to the Human Rights Council
The government of
Earlier on 23 November 2005, 68 indigenous Jumma NGOs were forced to abandon their two day meeting on land rights issues at Rangamati following a 'directive' from the Prime Minister's Office. The Deputy Commissioner of Rangamati informed the Superintendent of Police, who immediately intervened to stop the meeting.
A country which does not allow a workshop on land rights of the indigenous peoples should not be elected as a member of the UN Human Rights Council.