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2013 Human Rights report on Indigenous people of Bangladesh

The 2013 Human Rights Report on Indigenous people of Bangladesh has been published by the Kapaeeng Foundation, with the support of Oxfam and the European Union. 

The report shows that, in 2013, the number of incidents of human rights against indigenous peoples have again increased. There has been a significant increase in the destruction, burning and looting of indigenous property and in the number forced to escape across the border (2,000).

“Human rights of indigenous peoples in the Chittagong Hills Tract and plain lands are still being violated in an alarming manner. In most cases, the state authority fail to investigate the alleged human rights violations properly, which were committed directly by state-machineries as well as by third parties such as Bengali settlers, illegal land grabbers, private companies and local administrations. The indigenous victims of human rights violations are often neither provided with essential protection nor co-operated in filing charges against the perpetrators. As a result, the offenders usually do not face any prosecution and punishments. “

There have recently been more attacks on indigenous people, particularly women in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Over the last month a Chakma woman was raped and killed, a Chakma girl was raped, a temple ransacked and settlers have attacked villages.

These incidents are often reported as ethnic tensions in the media. However the Kapaeeng’s analysis shows the one sided nature of these incidents. It reports because the authorities fail to investigate attacks on indigenous people by security forces, settlers, illegal land grabbers, private companies and local administrations the attackers “enjoy absolute impunity”.

Access to the Chittagong Hills Tract is very restricted. When foreigners can enter they must be escorted in most areas and there are restrictions on journalists. Therefore it is difficult to establish the truth when attacks occur.  Kapaeeng’s thorough analysis of the situation in 2013 is therefore very valuable for human rights organisations.

The recommendations of this report are similar to the recommendations of Amnesty’s “Pushed to the Edge”, which was published last June.  Kapaeeng’s report recommends that the Bangladesh government:

  • Take effective measures to fully implement the CHT Accord of 1997
  • Stop the systematic and forcible displacement of Indigenous Peoples from their ancestral lands
  • Stop communal violence and physical abuse against indigenous women and children and to
  • Conduct judicial inquiries into the communal violence and abuses against indigenous women.
  • Provide constitutional recognition to the Indigenous Peoples as per international human rights instruments ratified by the Government of Bangladesh.
  • Investigate human rights violations against Indigenous Peoples
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