Jul 23, 2004

Chittagong Hill Tracts: Statement at the WGIP

Statement by Suman Barua, SRG Welfare Society (Bangladesh)
Untitled Document
Greeting from Bangladesh Indigenous people and may thanks for giving me the floor for presenting the present situation of Indigenous People in Bangladesh. I am representing the SRG Welfare Society which is an international organization mainly works for Bangladesh community. Our organization considers and works for the rights of Indigenous and Minority people's education, health, culture, technology and their economic growth. I am very much pleased to allow me to attend the 22nd session Working Group on Indigenous Populations going to be held UN, Geneva, Switzerland and help me to draw up the various problems about indigenous population of our country.

Respectable Mr. Chairman

Before talking about the indigenous peoples of Bangladesh, here I informed you that Jammu peoples, staying in the Hill Tracts area are the most ancient indigenous people living in Bangladesh. Apart from them the Barua community, Rakhain community etc, who are staying in plane surface area are also indigenous people of Bangladesh.

Here I also indicate you that the historical establishment of Bangladesh was so long when the Jammu People, Hindu and Buddhist people were the majority people in Bangladesh. Our religion and culture convey more historical movement. It was just five hundred years ago when Muslim people began to establish in this country and got incremented day by day, and they capture power. Now Muslim people are majority in Bangladesh.

After the independence of Bangladesh in 1971, Bangladesh government impose imposed army rules on the Jammu people in the Hill Tracts area and occupied the hill tracts area forcibly. Recently it is reached to extreme level after fundamentalist come to the supreme power of Bangladesh. They are imposing more trouble on the indigenous fundamentalist rules over the indigenous people and other minorities killing, rape women, physical torture, kidnapping forcible occupation of property, eviction of religious minorities, demolishing of deities temple, monastic, churches etc, of the indigenous people reach to the mortal level. Other religions peoples like Hindu, Buddhist living a very awful life in Bangladesh.

They are just leading an imprisonment life under the fundamentalist power and rules. I come over here as a conveyor of them and begging on behalf of the indigenous peoples of my country to take necessary step in this concern. Moreover we want to lead a free and freedom life and want to release from this fundamentalist rules. Since indigenous people had a highly appreciate participation in the independent war of Bangladesh.

Respectable Mr. Chairman

Although in the constitution of Bangladesh, it indicated that every people of Bangladesh would come under one constitutional rule. But in the reality it is no functioning in this way. Actually there are two constitution rules are now functioning in our country. One, called civil constitutional rules, for the people who are settle in the surface are another one is army constitutional rules that are implementing on the Jammu peoples in the hill track area. How far I know, according to the constitutional law, a country cannot rule under two constitution rules simultaneously. Why is this type of constitution being run in the present era? The government of Bangladesh always keeps the indigenous people under pressure. Even after independence the indigenous people haven't yet got their independence. As a result the Language, the Culture and traditions of the indigenous people of Bangladesh are getting faded away in this land due to the pressure of the government and fundamentalist.

Here I notice you that, on the 2nd December 1997, the Government of Bangladesh, and the leader of the tribes Mr. Jyotirindra Bodi Priya Larma signed a peace agreement on behalf of the indigenous of the hill tracts area. But the government failed to follow and implement this peace agreement. As a result we find the government of Bangladesh treacherous with tribe people, did not executed agreement. Yet the Muslim fundamentalist occupied the land and wealth. I beg to draw your kind attention to these speculated people.

Respectable Mr. Chairman

Among several awful incident I would like to explain some incidents that forcibly implement on the indigenous people of Bangladesh:

1. On August 26th, 2003, in Mohalchari under Chittagong Hill Tracts area, more than three hundred houses of tribes (Indigenous) were burnt with the help of Bangladesh Army and a child and an old man were killed, ten innocent women were raped and hundreds of people were wounded during this incident.
2. On May 27th 2003 The Bangladesh army forcibly occupied a Buddhist temple in Barlkal area in Rangamati, and changed the Buddhist temple into an 'Army Camp'. The basic rights of the human were violated in this incident.
3. On the 8th of Nov. 2003, In Banskhali, in the mid night, eleven innocent people belonging to the same family were burnt alive by the Muslim fundamentalist without any reason. We have not witnessed this type of pathetic incident in the world. Not only these, there many, many incidents I can continue to explain day after day. We are unhappy with the activities of the government of Bangladesh. The present government wants to fully demolish the tribes and the indigenous community in Bangladesh.

Respectable Mr. Chairman

All that we want is to lead a peaceful life. We do not want to lead a life, which filled with terror, killing, abduction and human torture. We want equal rights to be given within all the citizens of Bangladesh, in this 22nd session of Working Group of Indigenous population.

I hope I had drawn yours kind attention toward the suffering of the Indigenous People of Bangladesh and expect immediate action to be taken on behalf of the indigenous peoples of my country to ensure their free, freedom and peaceful life.

God bless you all. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
May all beings be happy.
Thanking you.

Mr. Suman Barua
Secretary General
SR& Welfare Society
121 Momin Road, Chittagong
Phone: 880-31-727894
Fax: 880-31-635971
E-mail: [email protected]