Mar 23, 2004

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Bangladesh Government to Review Peace Treaty

Bangladesh Government led by Begum Khaleda Zia is contemplating to review CHT Peace Treaty, while an EU delegation visits the region and talks with local Government officials

The four-party alliance Government of Bangladesh led by Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia is contemplating to review Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Treaty, which brought an end to over two decades of conflict in the country's southeast region, a senior minister said on Monday.

Agriculture Minister MK Anwar told the Parliament that the Government would review those provisions of the treaty, which he said were "not consistent with Constitution".

The peace treaty was signed in December, 1997 by the previous Government headed by Sheikh Hasina, but was vehemently opposed by ruling BNP, the then main opposition party. BNP enforced several agitation programmes including strikes to register their protest to the treaty.

The comments came at a time when a delegation from European Union began a visit to the hill tracts to see the progress of EU-funded projects and talk with local Government officials. The delegation includes Dutch Ambassador Sjef Ijzerman, British High Commissioner David Carter, Italian Ambassador Pietro Ballero, Swedish Ambassador Borje Mattsson, Ambassador of the EC Esko Kentrschynskyj, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of France Fabienne Drout, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Denmark Tom Hansen, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Germany Hermann Nicolai, First Secretary, European Commission Anne Marchal, and Second Secretary, British High Commission Alan Shaw.

The visit is facilitated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through the agency's newly established Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility (CHTDF) office in Ranga-mati. UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Jorgen Lissner will also join the delegation.

The EU diplomats will then visit some of the 120 communities of Rangamati, who are participating in the UNDP programme for the "promotion of development and confidence building in the Chittagong Hill Tracts".

Delegation will also have meeting with the Rangamati deputy commissioner, the chairman of the Hill District Council and the chairman of CHT Regional Council.