Emphasizing the importance of full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord, speakers at a program Wednesday urged the government to resolve land ownership disputes in the region for the sake of lasting peace.
They also put forward some recommendations at a discussion titled ‘Present crisis in CHT area and role of civil society’ at the ATM Shamsul Haque Auditorium of CIRDAP in Dhaka.
Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), in association with the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission organized the program marking the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the CHT Peace Accord.
Attending the event as special guest, Rashed Khan Menon MP, said political interactions between Adivasi leaders and mainstream political parties is necessary to fully implement the accord.
“As it is a political matter, it will not be possible to resolve the crisis without political leaders’ involvement,” Menon, the president of Workers Party, also said.
“It’s very unfortunate for us that despite the passage of 22 years since the formation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission (as part of the peace accord), people of the region are still deprived of land rights. We hope the government will take the steps essential to implement the deal fully,” he added.
Sultana Kamal, co-chair of the CHT Commission and former adviser to the caretaker government, noted the demographic changes that have occurred in the last 22 years. “Meantime, the ratio of Bangali settlers to indigenous people has changed along with the political leadership. Indigenous people have been removed from the decision-making level,” she said.
Former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Prof Mizanur Rahman, said: "Constructing new buildings and roads is not an example of sustainable development. The government must ensure human rights and freedom of speech to ensure sustainable development.”
ALRD Chairperson and Coordinator of Nijera Kori, Khushi Kabir, Justice Nizamul Haque, and Barrister Raja Debasish Roy, the Chakma king, also addressed the programme.