Open Letter to Ministry of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, Bangladesh

Bir BahadurUshwe Sing MP, Minister
Ministry of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs,Bangladesh
SecretariatBuilding, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh


December 1st, 2020

Honorable Minister Sing,

With this letter we, the undersigned organisations, wish to express our concern and show our solidarity with the Indigenous Mro communities, who right now are facing eviction from their ancestral lands as well as other human rights violations.

Villagers of the Mro community face eviction threats from eight of their ancestral villages on the Chimbuk Range in Bandarban district in the Chittagong Hill District, Bangladesh due to the construction of a five-star hotel on their ancestral lands.

Officials of the Army Welfare Trust and a giant business entity (the Sikder Group-owned R&R Holdings Ltd.) have jointly encroached on their indigenous swidden farm-land, village forest, cremation grounds and other sacred sites, and different fruit orchards to construct the hotel and to use the adjacent lands for trekking, swimming, cable car rides and so forth.

It has come to our attention that on 12 September 2020 Bangladesh army and Sikdar group announced that the five-star Hotel will be built on the Chimbuk Range in a joint venture between the 24th Infantry Division of the Bangladesh Army, headquartered in Chittagong, the 69th Infantry Brigade, headquartered in Bandarban, the Army Welfare Trust and Sikder Group (R&R Holdings). The hotel building is to be accompanied by 12 separate luxury villas, a modern cable ride and a swimming pool. Some of the villagers have already been evicted, while others are facing threats due to the construction of the hotel and associated structures and landscapes. 800-1000 Acres of their land will be adversely affected by this project.

Members of the Mro and other Indigenous communities are afraid that the construction of the hotel will damage swidden lands, sacred sites, forests, water resources and biodiversity in the region.

Indigenous Mro People in Kapru Para, Dola Para, and Era Para will eventually be evicted while villagers in Markin Para, Long Baitong Para, Mensing Para, Riamanai Para and Menring Para are under threat of eviction if this hotel and related tourism project is put into operation.

The construction of the luxury hotel and related tourism facilities will effectively destroy the social, economic, traditional and cultural fabric of the Mro Indigenous people and its community. Mro villagers have no other way to survive without this land, moreover, this displacement and eviction will bring a destruction in the history of the Mro Indigenous Peoples civilization.

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