Chittagong Hill Tracts: Amnesty International Writes Letter to Bangladesh Minister Regarding Rape of Marma Sisters
Amnesty International has written an open letter to the Bangladesh State Minister of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs urging the immediate safety of the Marma sisters and the release of them into secure custody of their choice. The letter also condemns the attack on Chakma Circle Adviser Rani Yan Yan and a volunteer at the clinic where the Marma sisters were kept after the rape, and requests that thorough investigations take place regarding both incidents.
The letter below was published by Amnesty International:
Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing MP State Minister Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
ENSURE IMMEDIATE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF THE TWO MARMA SISTERS WITH THEIR CONSULTATION AND CONSENT AND LAUNCH INVESTIGATION INTO THE SEXUAL ASSAULT ON THEM BY MEMBERS OF BANGLADESH ARMY
Dear State Minister for CHT Affairs,
Amnesty International calls on your attention for the safety and security of the two Marma sisters, who were confined at the Rangamati Sadar Hospital since 24 January and subsequently taken by force from the hospital against their will, and handed over to their parents on 15 February.
Amnesty International understands that the sisters are staying at an accommodation of a ruling party leader in a restricted environment, contrary to their request of shelter.
Local civil society organisations and community leaders reported that the eldest of two indigenous Marma sisters, 19 was raped and her sister, 14 was sexually abused by members of Bangladesh Army on 22 January  in Orasori village, Farua Union, Bileisori Sub-District, Rangamati Hill District, Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Amnesty International also condemns the violent assault on the Chakma Circle Adviser Rani Yan Yan and one of her volunteers on 15 February 2018 when they were present at the ward where the sisters were kept, when the sisters were forcibly taken away by men and women in civilian clothes. There is a significant risk that the forceful abduction of the two sisters will compound the trauma that they have already experienced.
Amnesty International is in possession of a letter signed by the elder sister, requesting that she be released in custody of Raja Devasish Roy, the Chakma Circle Chief (Customary head of the Chakma people) and not to her family because her family has been subjected to intimidation by the army and her home is the place where the rape took place. A copy of this letter and English translation are enclosed.
Amnesty International urges you to:
● Guarantee the safety of the two sisters and release them to a safe and secure custody of their choice
● Ensure that the two sisters have access to appropriate health-care and counselling
● Ensure that immediate and thorough investigations are carried out into a) the rape/sexual abuse of the Marma sisters and b) the assault on Rani Yan Yan and her assistant, and that any perpetrators of the crime are prosecuted in full compliance with national and international due process standards without recourse to the death penalty
I remain at your disposal for any further information that you may request.
Regional Director (South Asia)
Photo courtesy of New Age