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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

CHT land disputes to be solved thru' discussion

Source: The Daily Star News

Sajeda tells view exchange meeting

Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury yesterday said land disputes are the main problem in Chittagong Hill Tract (CHT) area and the problem will be solved through discussions with the indigenous people.

The CHT Land Commission is working to solve the problem. A land survey is needed and it is the important thing for the area, she added.

Sajeda, who is also convener of CHT Peace Accord Implementation Committee, speaking as the chief guest at a view exchange meeting on 'A Decade of CHT Peace Accord: Expectations and Achievements' at the National Press Club in the city.

Shamprity Manchya, a voluntary organisation, organised the meeting.

The CHT peace accord brought an end to a two-decade-long insurgency in the area. After signing the accord in 1997 on December 2, members of Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samity (PCJSS), who had been in an armed struggle for autonomy of CHT, surrendered their arms to the then Awami League government.

The Awami League leader said if there is any contradiction in the peace accord, the government will sit with all the stakeholders and then would take a decision to solve the problem.

About constitutional recognition to the indigenous people, she said the constitution has ensured their rights.

Sajeda stressed the need for taking an initiative to protect their traditional culture, language and lifestyle.

Speaking as the special guest, State Minister for CHT Affairs Dipankar Talukdar said the government had made a progress regarding the implementation of the accord.

Chaired by Prof Ajoy Roy, the function was addressed by General Secretary of Indigenous Forum Sanjib Drong and PCJSS leader Shaktiphad Tripura.

Noted journalist Shahriar Kabir presented a keynote paper at the view exchange meeting.

Appeal for help

Source: The Daily star News

Kakoli Rani Bhadra, a staff nurse of ZH Sikder Medical College Hospital in the city, has been suffering from breast cancer.

Despite taking Bilateral Mastectomy, Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy, Kakoli, 24, is yet to recover from the prolonged illness that has also put her job at stake, says a press release.

Doctors have said Kakoli, who returned from an Indian hospital, must undergo advanced treatment immediately, which will cost Tk 10 lakh.

It is not possible for her father, who is a peasant from Jessore, to afford such an expensive treatment.

Other than the house they're living in, the poor family has lost everything for her treatment.

Hence, Purnima Rani Bhadra, mother of Kakoli, has urged the affluent people to extend financial support to help save the life of her daughter.

Contributions can be sent to Kakoli Rani Bhadra, Savings Account No 0007334066827, National Bank Ltd, ZH Sikder Medical College Branch, Rayer Bazar, Dhaka.

Interested persons can also call her or her family members at 01915-049662, 01913-285643 or 01722-509206.

Vested property restoration (amendment) bill termed incomplete

Source: The New Nation

Politicians, social and human rights activists, community leaders forming human chain and holding gathering in Barisal city on Sunday morning termed the Vested Property Res-toration (Am-endment) Bill 2009 'communal', saying that it would make another black law to pave the way for vested interest quarters for further grabbing the property of the minorities.

They bearing banners, placards demanded further amendment in the Vested Property Restoration (Ame-ndment) Bill 2009, approved by the cabinet on November 2 and implementation of Vested Property Restoration Act 2001, forming Debuttar Property Board and Hindu Buddha Christian Foundation.

The programmed was organized by Bangladesh Hindu Buddha Christian Oikkya Parishad (HBCOP) Barisal district branch in front of Aswani Kumar Hall and the gathering was presided over by Kaliya Daman Guha, district presidium member of the organization.

Advocate Hiron Kumar Das Mithu, Sukehendu Shekhar Boidya, Suranjit Dutta Litu, Suvashish Ghose Bappi, Joyonta Kumar Das, Chanchal Das Pappa, Asit Roy,Ratan Chakraborty, Dilip Dey of HBCOP, AK Azad of CPB, Dr. Habibur Rahman of Manabadhikar Jote, addressed the gathering. The speakers and the participants of the program said that the land grabbers always belonged to the party in power.

Human rights deteriorate in Bangladesh

Source: [United Press International, Inc.]

Hamburg, Germany, December 31 — Human rights in Bangladesh were anything but healthy in 2009 under the ruling Awami League led alliance. According to a report on Thursday by the oldest Bengali newspaper of Bangladesh, the Daily Sangbad, around 4,000 people were murdered, which averages to about 11 deaths each day. There were 10 politically motivated murders and 12,074 torture cases related to women. Tender grabbing was a common feature of the ruling party cadres.

There has been an alarming rise in human rights violations in the country since the new Awami League led coalition come to power in January. But the government denied any wrongdoings. It has also denied any role in the extrajudicial killings in the country and has continued to violate the country’s constitution and other laws.

The attitude of people in law enforcement agencies has not changed, at least on the issue of extra judicial killings despite the judiciary ordering them to stop killing people under the guise of “crossfire,” “encounter,” and “gunfight.” Although much of such action has stopped, it is not a sustainable solution. But the decision has been hailed an eye-opener by many including human rights organizations.

The High Court issued the suo moto order over extra judicial killings on November 17. It gave the government two weeks, initially, to explain why the killing of two brothers, Lutfor and Khairul Khalasi by law enforcement agencies in Madaripur on Nov.16 should not be declared extrajudicial. The government has yet to reply and the Attorney General has sought more time, presumably until the court resumes on January 3, 2010.

During the year although there were some positive activities by the government, most sectors in the country were devoid of any human rights, the rule of law and good governance. Religious minorities were oppressed and press freedoms were violated almost every other day.

When the Awami League was in opposition, they opposed extrajudicial killings but when in power, they turned a blind eye. Despite the High Court orders, law enforcers killed more than 11 people. According to media reports, from Jan.7 until to Dec.14, law enforcers killed some 142 people. Law enforcers have killed some 1,600 peoples since 2002 when Operation Clean Heart, led by the army began.

Repression of minorities and indigenous people has been an ongoing event with impunity to the perpetrators. The murdered include a converted Christian NGO worker Swapan Mondal, Hindu freedom fighter Nirapad Kobiraj - killed by the RAB under the excuse of crossfire, a senior citizen Jatindra Lal Dey, an indigenous girl Maching Khai Marma who was also raped, schoolteacher Akhil Saha, Ashish Sarker, and businessmen Sumon Goala and Goutam Sarker.

During the year, many cases of rape and physical torture of women and girls belonging to ethnic minorities were reported. Also, least 70 incidents of land grabbing occurred in minority communities across the country.

Other criminal acts observed were violence against women, sexual harassment of women and girls in educational institutions, offices, factories and other workplaces. So-called social leaders victimized at least 15 families by issuing extrajudicial penalties such as beatings and canings in the name of arbitration, mediation or conciliation.

Seventy-six people including 57 army officers were killed in a mutiny after the ruling coalition came to power. Reportedly, 66 members of the Bangladesh Rifles died in the custody of the alleged mutineers. It is believed they were tortured and then killed. Yet, the perpetrators have not been brought to justice.

During the year, terrorists killed three journalists including a young community journalist. The New Age reporter F.M. Masum was brutally tortured by so called elite forces for reporting corruption scandals of influential politicians. Many journalists were also threatened, tortured and harassed for similar reporting.

The one good act of the government was to sentence to death the 12 accused in the murder of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founding father of Bangladesh. The highest court of Bangladesh pronounced the verdict. Although the death penalty is one of the greatest human rights violations, the whole nation looked at the case as a trial of war criminals whose acts led to mass rape, murder, riots, looting and other inhuman activities during Bangladesh’s liberation war of 1971.