Source: Kapaeeng Foundation
On 7 October 2009 at a press conference held at Reporters’ Unity auditorium in Dhaka, human rights groups urged the Land Commission to scrap its decision to conduct a land survey in CHT before resolving the land disputes। They made the demand following the announcement of the CHT Land Commission on September 8 to start a land survey from October 15 which will end on March 15 of next year।The press conference titled 'Importance of resolving land dispute and land survey in CHT ' was organised jointly by the Association for Land Reform and Development Commission (ALRD), Ain O Salish Kendro, HDRC, Nijera Kori, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, Kapaeeng Foundation and Khagrachari Headmen Association. The press statement was signed by Rtd justice Md. Golam Rabbani, Ms. Sultana Kamal of Ain O Salish Kendro, Ms. Khushi Kabir of Nijera Kori, Prof. Abul Barakat of Dhaka University, Mr. Samshul Huda of ALRD, Mr. Sanjeeb Drong of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, Mr. Shakti Pada Tripura of Khagrachari Headmen Association, Mr. Sudatta Bikash Tanchangya of CHT Forest and Land Rights Movement and Mr. Dipayan Khisa of Kapaeeng Foundation.Rights groups said in the written statement that the decision to conduct land survey in the CHT before resolving the disputes over the ownership of lands would only intensify the complexities. He added that the announcement of starting land survey before resolving the disputes over the ownership stands against the spirit of CHT Accord and the election manifesto of the government. He also raised question about the experience of the officials of the Directorate of Land Record and Survey to conduct land survey in CHT and said the decision to complete the land survey in CHT within five months is nothing but an imaginary plan.They made following demands for total disputed land in CHT and strengthening the Land Commission-(1) to stop any initiative of land survey in three hill districts of CHT;(2) to amend the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Acr 2001 as per recommendation during the current session of the Jatiya Sangsad on urgent basis;(3) to identify land disputes of different places of CHT and to initiate for formulation of databse on this regard;(4) to start land dispute sesolution in consultation with CHT Regional Council, Circle Chiefs, CHT Affairs Ministry and other concerned leaders of indigenous peoples as per CHT Accord;(5) to appoint necessary officers and employees including secretary of Land Commission immediately in order to setting up of its office as per CHT Accord;(6) to strengthen Land Commission as independent commission in accordance with democratic norms to ensure that it could not be turned a rubber of any person;(7) to allot adequate fund for strengthening and making office of the Land Commission effective.The statement of the rights group was read out by Samshul Huda, Executive Dircetor of ALRD while former Justice Golam Rabbani and Bangladesh Adivasi Forum General Secretary Sanjib Drong were present at the press conference.