UNPO, SADF and NPWJ organise roundtable discussion on Roundtable Discussion on the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord

17 Jun, 2016 | Press Releases

Brussels, 17 June 2016
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), in collaboration with the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) and No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), organised a roundtable discussion with civil society actors aimed at discussing the 1997 Peace Accords between the Bangladeshi government and the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS). The event took place a on Friday 17 June 2016 at the office of No Peace Without Justice in Brussels.

These Peace Accords, which came after years of conflict and negotiations, include a number of provisions that the Bangladeshi Government was to implement to better protect the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), a group of eleven different tribes collectively known as Jumma people (Highlanders) and who amount to approximately 850,000 individuals.
Despite several attempts and the insistence of the indigenous community, almost 19 years later, many provision of the Accords lie unimplemented. The Jumma people have yet to be officially recognised as indigenous and their distinctive culture and traditions are threatened by the settlement of a large number of Bengali people from other parts of the country, which in only 60 years have passed from 2% to 50% of the region’s population.

The event saw the participation of Mr Ushatan Talukder, the only MP of Bangladesh’s National Parliament representing the indigenous community, as well as Mr Mangal Kumar Chakma, representative of the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) (CHT United Peoples’ Party), the only political organization representing the indigenous Jumma people. The event took the form of an interactive discussion between representatives of the PCJSS and civil society members interested in finding out more about the issue and discussing possible avenues of cooperation, to work for the full implementation of the Peace Accords and more in general for an improvement of the living conditions of the Jumma community.