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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Purba Chakma: Messages from An Indigenous Woman Human Rights Defender from Bangladesh

My name is Purba Chakma. I am from Khagrachari district of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh). I think the main issue of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is the land issue. Indigenous Peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts are constantly facing this. Due to implementation of the Kaptai Hydroelectric Power Project on the Karnaphuli River in 1960, thousands of Hill Peoples were displaced from their ancestral lands. Moreover, during the General Zia and General Ershad’s regime, plain land Bengalis were brought to the CHT with false promises under a state-initiated program.

As a result, the settler Bengalis grabbed the lands of Indigenous Peoples and deprivation began in the CHT. Due to the extremism of the Settler Bengalis, Jummas continue to suffer from various forms of communal attacks and women are falling victims of rape and murder. So in this regard, I consciously try to cooperate with those who work on Indigenous Rights and Women’s Rights. Besides, I am always with the indigenous Jumma peoples for the sake of establishment of their rights. I hope those who work on Indigenous Land Rights issues internationally, will also highlight the land issues of Indigenous peoples in our CHT at the global level.