May 8, 2013
Press Statement by UNPO on the Universal Periodic Review of Bangladesh
8 May 2013
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is deeply disappointed with the report of the Government of Bangladesh, including their responses to the questions and recommendations by States at the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) session in Geneva. In particular, Bangladesh had made a clear commitment at the first UPR cycle in 2009 to implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord and to respect the rights of indigenous peoples as part of their Election Manifesto. Nevertheless, we appreciate the positive response from Bangladesh of accepting the recommendations on the implementation of the CHT Accord.
The indigenous peoples of CHT have been subjected to widespread human rights violations for decades of military-style rule in their homeland. These massive human rights violations include among others widespread displacement, forced assimilation, unlawful arrest and detention based on false charges, and political killings, causing instability and conflicts. Because of this situation, the indigenous peoples engaged in the peace process that started with the signing of the CHT Peace Accord in 1997 by the Bangladesh government remain in a problematic situation, due to the militarization of CHT.
UNPO believes that the complete implementation of the CHT Peace Accord is very critical in the survival and development as well as the exercise of the individual and collective rights of the indigenous peoples of CHT. It is also necessary for the achievement of a lasting peace in CHT, and the resolution of numerous land disputes. Over the years, there have been repeated demands that the Bangladesh government honor their commitment to the full and effective implementation of the CHT Peace Accord. The UPR session on Bangladesh at the UN Human Rights Council would have been a good opportunity for the new government of Bangladesh to demonstrate its political will to implement the Peace Accord, yet Bangaldesh failed to do so in spite of the verbal commitment it made during the national stakeholders consultations prior to the UPR.
UNPO welcomes the States who have raised the concerns of the indigenous peoples of Bangladesh and recommended the full and effective implementation of the CHT Accord as a matter of priority for the Bangladesh government, such as the government of Australia, Denmark, Ecuador, and Norway among others. These recommendations are very encouraging to continue demanding for the accountability and obligation of the government of Bangladesh to the CHT Peace Accord.
UNPO calls on the government of Bangladesh to commit itself to the implementation of these recommendations during the 24th session of the Human Rights Council later this year. It will be a great setback to indigenous peoples if Bangladesh continues to ignore the CHT Peace Accord implementation and to fail upholding the rights of the indigenous peoples of Bangladesh, which is contrary to their election Manifesto.
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization