Chittagong Hill Tract: Land Disputes End
Law Minister Shafique Ahmed yesterday [01 February 2009] said the government is weighing measures to settle the land disputes between indigenous communities and Bangla-speaking settlers in Chittagong Hill Tract (CHT) areas.
He also said the government will closely monitor the matters concerned so that no conflict takes place between the members of parliament and the upazila chairmen during discharging their responsibilities.
"As per laws concerned, there are specific [separate] functions for parliament members and upazila chairmen. They will discharge their respective duties defined by the laws," he added.
The minister said this at a meeting with nine European Union (EU) diplomats, led by Swedish Ambassador Britt F Hagstrom, at his secretariat office.
Other members include Swedish Dutch envoy Bea Ten Tusscher, Italian Ambassador Itala Maria Marta Occhi, EU Commission Ambassador Dr Stefan Frowein, Danish envoy Einar Hebogaard Jensen, German envoy Frank Meyke, Charge d' Affaires of France Patrick Branco, Charge d' Affairs of Spain Edward Romero and Acting British High Commissioner Duncan Norman.
Shafique told the EU envoys that a separate secretariat would be set up under the Supreme Court for the judiciary to work independently, according to an official of the ministry.
Replying to a query on what facilities the opposition parties in parliament will get, the minister said they will enjoy all the facilities as per the rules of the constitution and the laws.
On the government stance on 'extrajudicial killings', Shafique told the EU delegation that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) would be strengthened to look after the issue.
"The democracy will not be restored unless the rule of law is established," he added.
The envoys assured the minister of extending all-out cooperation to strengthen the NHRC and to modernise the case management system.
After the meeting, the Swedish envoy told reporters that they did not discuss the trial of war criminals, but they were observing what the government was doing over the issue.
Later, a five-member delegation of Bangladesh Judicial Service Association, led by its president M Abdul Gafur, called on the Law Minister at his office.