Silver Jubilee of CHT Accord 1997: A Call for Solidarity and Action for the Implementation of the CHT Accord

To mark the silver jubilee of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Accord, several Indigenous organizations and community members from Bangladesh launched the 25 Days of Mass Action on the 27th November 2022 demanding to honour and fully implement the Accord. The call for action will end on 20th December 2022 with a mass procession in Dhaka followed by an online symposium as well as solidarity messages from different country-level and international organizations, and activists across the world.

The Accord was signed on the 2nd December 1997 between the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) and Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), a political party of the Jumma Indigenous Peoples of CHT, in order to end the 24 years of arm-conflict and resolve the region’s political conflict through a peaceful solution. It ushered a great hope of peace and justice as it recognised the autonomy of the Indigenous Peoples of the CHT. 

However, since its signing, GoB has been dishonouring the agreement by addressing only peripheral provisions of the agreement and ignoring the core issues and provisions. According to PCJSS, 25 out of 72 sections of the Accord have been fully implemented and 18 have been partially implemented. The remaining 29 sections were left totally untouched that includes the core issues of the agreement. One of them is the self-rule governance system. The agreement provides for the introduction of a special governance system for the CHT region consisting of the CHT Regional Council at regional level and three Hill District Councils at district level. Many subjects including general administration, law and order, police, land and land management, forest and environment, tourism, development of communication systems are supposed to be entrusted to these councils. But till today those issues and functions have not been entrusted to these councils. As a result, the self-rule governance system in CHT has not yet been properly established.

Similarly, demilitarization of the CHT region has been postponed. The temporary camps, as per the agreement, were supposed to be withdrawn to their respective permanent barracks. Unfortunately, the time-line for that has not yet been determined.

The GoB has failed to initiate the process for land restitution and dispute resolution, one of the core issues of the Accord. The CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission was set up in 2001, however, the entity is yet to be operationalized with 27,000 applications already registered and awaiting for settlement because the government has not approved the rules of the Commission. Neither the lands forcibly taken over by the settlers have been returned to Indigenous Peoples, nor any refugees or internally displaced people have been rehabilitated. Consequently, land grabbing and displacement is increasing in the region.

Almost five decades of conflict have cost generational trauma and lives. The Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Francisco Cali Tzay stated that ‘Honesty, sincerity, dialogue, good faith and mutual trust are indispensable for implementing the CHT Accord.’[1]

In the best interest of democracy and humanity, we, the undersigned organizations, call on GoB to immediately announce a roadmap and demonstrate its political integrity and vision in the very spirit of the CHT Accord. We also urge the government to reform and amend all laws that run contrary to the Accord as a first step in creating an enabling environment for its effective and full implementation. 

Organisations:

  1. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Thailand
  2. Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF), Bangladesh
  3. Indigenous Peoples Alliance of Archipelago (Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara/AMAN), Indonesia
  4. Manushya Foundation, Thailand
  5. Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC), Malaysia
  6. Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT), Thailand
  7. Centre for Sustainable Development in Mountainous Areas (CSDM), Vietnam
  8. Vietnam Indigenous Knowledge (VTIK), Vietnam
  9. Network of Vietnam Indigenous Women (NVIW), Vietnam
  10. National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NAFIN), Nepal
  11. Cambodia Indigenous Peoples Alliance (CIPA), Cambodia
  12. Oyu Tolgoi Watch NGO, Mongolia
  13. Rivers without Boundaries Coalition- Mongolia
  14. Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER), Mexico
  15. Indigenous Peoples Foundation for Education and Environment, Thailand
  16. Papora Indigenous Development Association, Taiwan
  17. Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP), Nepal
  18. Kirat Chamling Language Culture Development Association, Nepal
  19. Indigenous Women’s Forum Northeast India
  20. Nilgiris Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group Federation, South India
  21. Asia Pacific Network of Environment Defenders (APNED)
  22. International IPMSDL
  23. Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Philippines
  24. Indigenous people’s Forum Odisha, India
  25. The William Gomes Podcast, UK
  26. National Indigenous Disabled Women Association Nepal (NIDWAN), Nepal
  27. Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development (BCHRD), Bangladesh
  28. Human Rights Alliance Bangladesh (HRAB), Bangladesh
  29. Papuans for the Future Network, Indonesia
  30. Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Bangladesh
  31. Centro Juventude Covalima (CJC), Timor-Leste
  32. Adivasi Women’s Network, India
  33. Kachin Women’s Association Thailand
  34. United Tribal Organization, Assam (UTOA), India
  35. Papora Indigenous Youth Council, Taiwan
  36. Bangladesh Indigenous Youth Forum (BIYF), Bangladesh
  37. Bangladesh Hajong Students Organization, Bangladesh
  38. Wickliffe Syiem Jubo Songho (WSJS), Bangladesh
  39. Women Working Group (WWG), Indonesia
  40. Bangladesh Indigenous Cultural Forum (BICF), Bangladesh
  41. CIPRED, Nepal
  42. Anagrasar Samaj Unnayan Sangstha (ASUS), Bangladesh
  43. Indigenous Peoples’ News Bangladesh (IPNEWS BD), Bangladesh
  44. Central Taiwan Ping-Pu Indigenous Groups Youth Alliance, Taiwan
  45. International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana, Asia Pacific, Philippines
  46. Réseau Camerounais des Organisations des Droits de l’Homme (RECODH), Cameroon
  47. SIKLAB Philippine Indigenous Youth Network, Philippines
  48. Chhattisgarh Tribal People’s Forum, Chhattisgarh, India
  49. Ananya Kallyan Sangathon (AKS), Bangladesh
  50. Bangladesh Koch Adivasi Union (BKAU), Bangladesh
  51. International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), Global
  52. Bangladesh Jatiya Hajong Sangathon (BJHS), Bangladesh
  53. ILPS Commission 10, Global
  54. Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders (IPHRDs) Network in Asia
  55. Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network, Bangladesh
  56. Kapaeeng Foundation, Bangladesh
  57. Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders Network, Bangladesh
  58. Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples of Asia (IKPA), Thailand
  59. Studio Dama, Bangladesh
  60. Network of Indigenous Women -Bai, Philippines
  61. Bangladesh Indigenous Student’s Action Forum, Bangladesh
  62. Dhaka University Jum Literature & Cultural society, Bangladesh
  63. YFIN Nepal
  64. Katribu Youth, Philippines
  65. Kabataan para sa Tribung Pilipino (Katribu Youth), Philippines
  66. Thansa Medical Foundation, India
  67. Federación por la Autodeterminación de los pueblos indígenas (FAPI), Paraguay
  68. STAR Kampuchea (SK), Cambodia
  69. Bangladesh Banai Unnayan Sanghathan, Bangladesh
  70. Ruwang Collective Arts
  71. CHT Women Headman-Karbari Network, Bangladesh
  72. CHT Youth Headman-Karbari Network, Bangladesh
  73. Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Bangladesh
  74. Chittagong Hill Tracts Hill Student’s Council (PCP), Bangladesh
  75. BAGACHAS, Bangladesh
  76. Nepal Indigenous Disabled Association, Nepal
  77. Hill Resource Centre, Bangladesh
  78. Acción Ecologica, Ecuador

Individuals:

  1. Ken Kampe, Advisor, AIPP, Thailand
  2. Khesheli Chishi, Senior Advisor, Indigenous Women’s Forum Northeast India
  3. Chetu Bikal Chamling, Secretary, Kirat Chamling Language Culture Development Association, Nepal
  4. Joseph Purugganan, Philippines
  5. Beverly L. Longid, Global Coordinator, International IPMSDL
  6. Rhoda Dalang, Member, CPA, Philippines
  7. Windel Bolinget, Chairperson, Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Philippines
  8. Theophil Gomango, Convenor, Indigenous people’s Forum Odisha, India
  9. Sakda Saenmi, Coordinator, Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT), Thailand
  10. William Nicholas Gomes, Human rights activist and Freelance journalist, UK
  11. Bobita Kormokar, Director, Bangladesh Centre for Human Rights and Development (BCHRD), Bangladesh
  12. Mahbul Haque, Founder and Chairman, Human Rights Alliance Bangladesh (HRAB), Bangladesh
  13. Esra Mandosir, General Coordinator, Papuans for the Future Network, Indonesia
  14. Ananta Dhamai, President, Bangladesh Indigenous Youth Forum (BIYF), Bangladesh
  15. Markush Basumatary, President, United Tribal Organization, Assam (UTOA), India
  16. Andrew Joell Sholmar, President, Wickliffe Syiem Jubo Songho (WSJS), Bangladesh
  17. Maslah Rompado, Project coordinator, JOAS, Malaysia
  18. Rajkumar Shaw, Executive Director, Anagrasar Samaj Unnayan Sangstha (ASUS), Bangladesh
  19. Antani Rema, Editor(acting), Indigenous Peoples’ News Bangladesh (IPNEWS BD), Bangladesh
  20. Anya Thomas, ZTI Asia Regional Coordinator, AIPP, Australia
  21. William Nokrek, Asia Pacific Coordinator, International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) Pax Romana, Asia Pacific, Philippines
  22. Joseph Désiré ZÉBAZÉ, National Coordinator, Réseau Camerounais des Organisations des Droits de l’Homme (RECODH), Cameroon
  23. Chandra Tripura, Member, Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF), Bangladesh
  24. Nedlloyd Tuguinay, National Coordinator, SIKLAB Philippine Indigenous Youth Network, Philippines
  25. Tak Bahadur Tamang, Nepal
  26. Rabindranath Soren, President, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, Bangladesh
  27. Khokon Suiten Murmu, Australia
  28. Mithun Kumar Koch, Joint Secretary, Bangladesh Koch Adivasi Union (BKAU), Bangladesh
  29. Falguni Tripura, Coordinator, Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network, Bangladesh
  30. Sefalika Tripura, Executive Director, Khagrapur Mahila Kallyan Samity (KMKS), Bangladesh
  31. Pallab Chakma, Executive Director, Kapaeeng Foundation, Bangladesh
  32. Helena Talang, Joint Convener, Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders Network, Bangladesh
  33. Sukhgerel Dugersuren, Chair, Oyu Tolgoi Watch NGO, Mongolia
  34. Manira Tripura, Bangladesh Indigenous Youh Forum, Bangladesh
  35. Sumadh Chakma, Vice-president, Dhaka University Jum Literature & Cultural Society, Bangladesh
  36. Sabba Rani Maharjan, Youth Federation of Indigenous Nationalities Federal Council, YFIN Nepal
  37. Arjan Chakma, Student, Aalborg Universitet
  38. Kiran Shrestha, General Secretary, YFIN Nepal
  39. Aitizya Chakma, President, Dhaka University Jum Literature & Cultural Society, Bangladesh
  40. Kim Falyao, Council Member, Asia Indigenous Youth Platform, Philippines
  41. Badhon Areng, Bangladesh
  42. Joyee Chakma, Graduate Student, North South University, Bangladesh
  43. Nipom Chakma, Project Officer, Community Initiative Society, Bangladesh
  44. Suresh Kumar Chakma, Founder, Thansa Medical Foundation, India
  45. Chyong yung Murong, General Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Students Action Forum, Bangladesh
  46. Satej Chakma, Sub-Editor, Indigenous Peoples’ News Bangladesh (IPNEWW BD), Bangladesh
  47. Palton Hajong, General Secretary, Bangladesh Jatiya Hajong Sangathon, Bangladesh
  48. Ripon Banai, General Secretary, Bangladesh Banai Unnayan Sanghathan, Bangladesh
  49. Lakpa Nuri Sherpa, Coordinator, Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples of Asia (IKPA), Thailand
  50. Anwesha Chakma, Member, Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network
  51. Shovon Mrong, General Secretary, BAGACHAS, Bangladesh
  52. Jagadish Chakma, Organisation Secretary, CHT PCP, Bangladesh
  53. Dev Bahing, Central member, YFIN NEPAL
  54. Nathalia Bonilla, Presidenta, Acción Ecologica, Ecuador

Click here to download the full statement

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[1] https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/12/bangladesh-un-expert-concerned-about-non-implementation-chittagong-hill

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