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Friday, December 10, 2010

Bengali settlers tried to grab Jumma’s land in Mahalchari

Source: PCJSS

Bengali settlers tried to grab Jumma’s land in Mahalchari
On 5 December 2010 Bengali settlers constructed houses on the land of Jumma people at Lemuchari under Mahalchari upazila in Khagrachari district.
It is learnt that around 10.00 am on that day more than 100 Bengali settlers started to construct makeshift on the 8 acres of recorded land of Sunil Kumar Chakma s/o late Chandra Kumar Chakm and 3 acres of land of Ripan Talukdar s/o Gyana Talukdar at Lemuchari village under Lamuchari mouza of Mahalchari upazila in Khagrachari district and completed to erect 10 houses by the end of the day. A group of army from Mahalchari zone and Kengalchari sub-zone were present at the spot while Bengalis settlers were erecting the houses on the Jumma’s land.
Protesting against it, Jumma villagers demolished the houses in the morning of 6 December. On the contrary, Bengali settlers gathered there with the intention to attack indigenous Jumma villagers in presence of military forces.
Deputy Commissioner of Khagrachari Anisul Haque Bhuiyan, Acting (in-charge) Mahalchari Upazila Nirbahi officer Rahet Hossain and Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Mahalchari police station Joynal Abedin rushed there today (on 6 December 2010). During the visit of the government officials, in absence of land owner Sunil Kumar Chakma, his son Kerington Chakma was present there and showed title deed of the land. It is mentionable that Sunil Kumar Chakma bought this from Painda Mog who got settlement this land in 1965-66.
However, DC of Khagrachari Md. Anisul Haque accused local Jumma villagers for destruction of Bengali settlers without accusing Bengali settlers for illegal construction of houses on the Jumma’s land.
It is also worth mentioning that Bengali settlers with the support of military forces and local administration occupied hundreds acre of land belongs to Jumma people in Mahalchari areas even after the signing of the CHT Accord in 1997. Very recently, Bengali settlers intensified land grabbing at these areas and as part of this move, they constructed houses on the land of Sunil Kumar Chakma and Ripan Talukdar.
Today (on 6 December 2010) the PCJSS, in a press release, protested against the land grabbing by Bengali settlers and support to them by the military forces and local administration in grabbing Jumma’s land and demanded to remove Bengali settlers from this area.

Indigenous and tribal peoples 15 per cent of the world’s poor-IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011

Source: Kapaeeng Foundation


Indigenous and tribal peoples and ethnic minorities constitute roughly 5 per cent of the world’s population, but they are 15 per cent of the world’s poor. In Latin America, poverty rates for indigenous peoples are substantially higher than for non-indigenous:

In Asia, for instance, where 70 per cent of the world’s indigenous peoples live, their ancestral territories are often threatened by deforestation and takeover of resources. In many countries, indigenous children and youth face discrimination in access to education – notably in their own languages and based on their cultures – and adults face discrimination in labour markets.

In Paraguay, poverty is almost eight times higher among indigenous peoples, in Panama almost six times higher and in Mexico three times higher. As with rural women, poverty for indigenous peoples is rooted in multiple forms of disadvantage and deprivation.

Virtually everywhere, indigenous peoples suffer from discrimination, violation of their rights (social, political, human and economic) and exclusion (or self-exclusion) from mainstream social, economic and political processes. For indigenous women and youth, there is typically an overlap of these and other forms of deprivation specific to their gender or age groups.

In addition, indigenous peoples in many parts of the world suffer from precarious control over their natural resource base, particularly in the face of commercial interests in, for example, timber exploitation, food or biofuel production or mining on their land.

The disadvantages faced by rural Poverty Report 2011 indigenous populations in Asia come from many sources: topography, limited access to infrastructure and services, low human capital, poor land and very limited access to credit.

While poverty rates have declined substantially over time among indigenous peoples in Asia, a poverty gap persists between indigenous and non-indigenous populations. Other than in China, this gap at best remains unchanged and at worst is widening. This is the case even in countries that have experienced a rapid decline in the incidence of poverty: in Viet Nam, for example, during periods of pro-poor growth during the 1990s and early 2000s, the incidence of poverty among ethnic minority groups only dropped slowly, compared with a rapid decline of poverty among the majority Kinh population.

Many countries, notably in Latin America and Asia, have established policies and institutions to support the rights and capabilities of indigenous peoples.

Several countries have passed legislation and established public programmes to recognize indigenous languages and cultures, develop appropriate educational curricula, enhance indigenous children’s access to schooling in their languages, and improve access to health-care services among indigenous communities. Some countries have legislation recognizing indigenous land rights, although implementation of such legislation can be challenging because of the powerful interest groups that often compete with indigenous peoples in their claims over their ancestral territories.

A number of international donors, including IFAD, have supported indigenous groups in gaining title to land and management of ecosystems.

Some also have policies or strategies for operating in indigenous peoples’ territories, which aim to address multiple forms of deprivation affecting these communities and to strengthen their capabilities – including by leveraging indigenous knowledge, practices and institutions.

IFAD’s policy on engagement with indigenous peoples, for example, focuses particularly on empowering indigenous peoples in rural areas to overcome poverty by building upon their identity and culture. The policy sets out nine principles of engagement – including free, prior and informed consent – that IFAD adheres to in its work with indigenous peoples.

The recent proclamation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been a landmark event laying out a framework for protecting and strengthening indigenous peoples’ rights and capabilities. However, turning this landmark event into a foundation for progressive change at the national and sub national level is a challenge in many countries.

Jumma people refrain from attending the meeting of Land Commission chairman in Baghaichari and Longadu

Source: PCJSS

On 5 and 6 December 2010 Land Commission chairman Justice (rtd.) Khademul Islam Chowdhury visited Baghaichari and Longadu upazila under Rangamati district respectively and organised opinion-sharing meetings there. However, there was very low participation of indigenous Jumma people in the meetings.
It is reported that in the Longadu meeting held on 6 December, no Jumma was present there. One indigenous woman who is Upazila Officer of Women Division and one head teacher of local high school who went there to collect textbooks for his students were picked-up to attend the meeting. The meeting was basically attended by around 100 Bengali settlers who were settled down in CHT in 80s on Jumma’s land. The Land Commission was created to resolve the land disputes mainly arisen due to forcible occupation of Jumma’s land by the Bengali settlers.
The meeting was held at Longadu upazila rest house with the Longadu Upazila Nirbahi Officer in the chair. In his speech, Khademul Islam Chowdhury said that land disputes will be resolved as per applications that were already submitted to the Commission and every body who did not yet apply can submit their application seeking resolution of land disputes. The land disputes will be resolved as per CHT Regulation of 1900 as CHT Accord stipulates, he said.
On the other, in the Baghaichari meeting held on 5 December at upazila hall, no headman and public representative except Upazila Chairman and two Vice Chairmen attended the meeting, though all the headmen and public representatives under Baghaichari upazila were invited to this meeting. However, widows irrespective of Bengali and Jumma who went to upazila office on that day to collect their widow allowances and Jumma officers and employees were compelled to attend the meeting. Besides, a so-called reformist leader of PCJSS Mr. Sushil Bikash Chakma and a village head named Bishwapriya Chakma were attended the meeting.
It is mentionable that after appointment as Chairman of Land Commission chairman, Justice (rtd.) Khademul Islam Chowdhury started to visit to hill districts and held opinion-sharing meetings with district and upazila level officers during his visit. At a stage, during tour of the three hill districts on 3-5 August 2009, he unilaterally declared to conduct land survey without having discussion with and decision of Land Commission and even violating the provision of CHT Accord. Further, he issued public notice asking affected land owners to lodge application on land disputes with Land Commission. This notice was issued without the decision of the Commission.
With this backdrop, all sections of the citizens including CHT Regional Council and PCJSS and also three circle chiefs protested against the unilateral and controversial activities of Land Commission and also demanded removal of Mr. Chowdhury from post of the Chairmanship. However, despite the huge protest from the all sections of the citizens, Mr. Chowdhury still continues his controversial activities including visit to the hill districts and holding opinion-sharing meeting without holding formal meeting of the Commission.