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Monday, March 1, 2010

CHT Violence Dhaka terms EU claims baseless

Source: The Daily Star News

The government on Saturday outright rejected the observation of the European Union in a statement issued on recent incidents of Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Terming the observation of the EU as baseless and unfounded, a release of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said such statement would not help the process of implementing the CHT Peace Treaty, reports BSS.

Rather, such statement would encourage those who chose to instigate instability in the CHT, the ministry said adding Bangladesh expects the EU to act responsibly and in a constructive manner.

Saying the EU statement as an unfortunate one, the release said, the initial consideration of the EU (prima facie), it is not based on any actual fact-finding exercise on the part of EU or any consultation with the government of Bangladesh.

As such, it does not offer any corroborating evidence in support of the allegations raised.

The EU in its statement said the EU is aware of allegations that the incident involved army personnel and labourers employed by army.

The government draws attention to the fact that--it was the Awami League government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her previous term, that took the bold step to conclude the CHT Peace Accord in order to bring back peace, security and stability in the area, said the foreign ministry release.

The present government, after assuming office in January last year, made no delay in resuming the process of full implementation of the accord.

As part of this process, a good number of military camps were withdrawn from the hill districts, the functioning of the CHT Land Commission was reinvigorated, and more power and tasks were transferred to CHT local councils.

The government attaches special emphasis on the socio-economic development of the people living in the CHT, with particular focus on the marginal and vulnerable groups, specially the ethnic minorities, it said.

Cases have been lodged and police have arrested suspected perpetrators following the incidents of February 19 and 20.

The government has also provided house-building and other relief materials for affected families as well as cash allowances.

The government has taken steps to promote harmony and understanding between the communities in the CHT following which several widely participated solidarity rallies were also held in the hill districts, it said.

Bangladesh government wishes to reiterate its commitment to 'zero tolerance' against impunity. Persons found responsible for instigating or committing acts of violence on February 19 and 20 in the CHT, will be brought to book.

The release said the government expects full understanding and cooperation from the friends of Bangladesh.

The government is committed towards the full implementation of the CHT accord, it added.

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