Jun 21, 2013

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Returning Refugees Suffer From Poor Implementation of Peace Accord

Many refugees returning to Bangladesh from India following the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord have complained of inadequate implementation of its components.

Below is an article published by the Dhaka Tribune

Bangladeshi refugees, who returned from India following the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord 1997, have expressed their frustration over the slow implementation of the accord that includes 20-point package facilities for them.

Following the agreement, some 64,609 members of 12,222 families returned to their birth place, but most of them were deprived of the 20-point package facilities and passing a miserable life in Khagrachhari and Rangamati, refugee leaders alleged.

“How could the Bangalee people cultivate the lands of the refugees’, if the government had implemented the 20-point package?” the refugee leaders posed a question, adding that most of the refugees of this area had been passing hard days due to food and cloth crisis.

Government did not exempt the loan below Tk5,000 and did not acquit any refugee from criminal charges as per the condition, they claimed.

Secretary of Chittagong Hill Tracts Jumma Refugee Welfare Association Santoshita Chakma said the government fully violated the 20-point package.  He also criticised the government for playing double standard policy in this regard.

However, government officials denied such allegations, saying that most of the sections of the 20-point package were implemented.

Deputy Commissioner Md Masud Karim said the government was working sincerely to rehabilitee the refugees. They have got almost all the things mentioned in the 20-point package, he added.

“The government has been providing foods through rationing system to all the refugee members. Each adult gets 21.70kg rice, while each non-adult gets 10.85kg per month,” the DC said.

Claiming that the government has rehabilitated the refugees at different villages of Khagrachhari and Rangamati, CHT Affairs Taskforce

Chairman Jatindra Lal Tripura said: “There is a list of 1, 46,972 of internal displaces including 89,280 ethnics, and work is on to make a fresh list of internal displaces following Parbatya Chhatagram Jana Shanghatti Samiti’s plea over the previous list.”

Denying the allegation of any food crisis, he said the government had been providing 1287.103 tonnes ration (food grains) to the refugees and 2230.35 tonnes to internal displaces every month since signing the CHT Accord.