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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Over 100 tribals arrested in Bangladesh: Visiting Home Minister urged to stop impending violence


The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) accused the Bangladesh government of only arresting people from the tribal communities. About 100 indigenous tribal peoples including 40 from Khabhampujjya area under Khagrachari district were arrested on the eve of the visit of Home Minister Sahara Khatun in the district.

Yesterday, on 23 February 2010, around 75 persons, mainly tribal people, injured and 70 houses, mainly belonging to tribals, were reduced to ashes after the illegal plain settlers attacked a peaceful demonstration by the United Peoples Democratic Front. One plain settler Anwar Hossain was also killed.

“The arrest of only Jummas under Khagrachari district is not an isolated event. After the massacre of the Jummas on 19-20 February 2010 under Rangamati district, the only people arrested were the Jummas who had sustained bullet injuries in the firing of the Bangladesh Army and when they went to obtain medical treatment at Baghaichari hospital.” Stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

The Asian Centre for Human Rights stated that there are serious biases of the law enforcement personnel and the government of Bangladesh has failed to uphold the rule of law and the principles of equality and non-discrimination.

The Asian Centre for Human Rights fears that more violence on the indigenous peoples will occur today as procession with the dead body of Anwar Hossain has been announced.

The non-implementation of the CHTs Accord of 1997 and continuing appropriation of the lands of tribal peoples are the root causes of the ongoing violence. The Asian Centre for Human Rights called for a judicial inquiry to be completed within 90 days into the killings and destruction of properties at Sajek and other districts; conducting an assessment of the properties lost and provide proper resettlement and rehabilitation to the victims; termination of “Operation Uttaran” that authorises the military presence; withdrawal of all the military personnel to the cantonments as provided in the CHTs Accord; stop all progranmmes relating to the implantation of illegal plain settlers on the lands of indigenous Jumma peoples in the CHTs; and fully implement the CHTs Accord of 1997 within specific time frame. [Ends]

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