UN Re­port Chal­lenged

Southasia - - Briefing -

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.

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