UN Report Challenged
Bangladesh, at a United Nations special session last month denied existence of indigenous people in the country. The government representatives recorded their protest against a recent study by UN Rapporteur Lars-Anders Baer which had found an extensive military presence and land disputes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh.
The report had stated that the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord, which was signed in 1997 by the then Awami League government to restore calm in the hills, has yet to be fully implemented by the Bangladeshi government. It also alleged the government of human rights violations in the area.
Refuting the findings of the report, Iqbal Ahmed, first secretary of the Bangladesh Mission in New York, stated, “The accord has nothing to do with indigenous issues and therefore, the government of Bangladesh reiterates its position that the forum, which is mandated to deal with indigenous issues, need not discuss issues related to the CHT peace accord.”
“We urge upon the UN forum to dedicate its valuable time to discuss issues related to millions of indigenous people all over the world and not waste time on issues politically concocted by some enthusiastic quarters with questionable motives,” said Iqbal.
However, government delegations from Denmark and Guatemala, representatives of the international indigenous population and international human rights groups attending the session emphasized that Bangladesh has not done enough to implement the peace deal.
Earlier, a high-level delegation led by state minister for CHT affairs Dipankar Talukdar cancelled the trip to New York at the last minute.