The Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission CHTC) has voiced concern over the government’s lack of political will leading to the failure of full implementation of the CHT Accord even after 17 years of its signing.
It urged the government to urgently adopt and enforce a roadmap with clear milestones for implementation of the peace treaty, ensuring the full participation of all stakeholders.
In a statement on Tuesday, the CHT Commission said Awami League signed the accord with Parbatya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti (PCJSS) on December 2, 1997 and the present Awami League government has repeatedly pledged to implement it.
It says peace and stability in the CHT continued to deteriorate throughout the two terms of the Awami League government and there has been no effort to strengthen local institutions and end land conflicts.
On November 23, 2014, parliament passed the three Hill District Councils amendment acts despite strong opposition from the indigenous community. The Ministry of CHT Affairs tabled the Rangamati Hill District Council (Amendment) Bill 2014, the Khagrachari Hill District Council (Amendment) Bill 2014 and the Bandarban Hill District Council (Amendment) Bill 2014 on July 1.
As a result, the number of interim members of the hill district councils will rise to 11 from the existing five, including three non-indigenous members, the statement says adding that the government has violated the accord by increasing the number of members without an election. The accord also stipulates the preparation of a voter list comprising only the permanent residents of the three hill districts.
The CHT Commission also asked the government to start work on resolving land disputes immediately aiming to authenticate the permanent residents of the CHT and draw up a voter list and hold elections to the Hill District Councils.
The government has failed to dismantle all temporary camps as stipulated in the 1997 CHT Accord and the presence of security forces appears to be increasing. In recent years, the securitization has also proliferated through other security forces like the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), according to the statement.
CHTC calls for full implementation of peace accord