‘According to the PCJSS, only 15% of the provisions outlined in the Peace Accord have been fully implemented by the government’
Citing a lack of progress, Amnesty International has called on the Bangladesh government to fully implement the human rights provisions of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Peace Accord, which came into effect 23 years ago.
The peace accord, negotiated against the backdrop of nearly two decades of armed conflict that killed thousands of people and displaced many more, was signed in 1997, between the government of Bangladesh and the Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS).
In a statement issued on Friday, Amnesty International said they had been monitoring the progress of the implementation of the peace accord since its signing in 1997.
The UK-based human rights organization said: “In 2000, we expressed concern over the slow pace of implementation. In 2013, we presented a detailed account of how the promises for a series of reforms regarding regional autonomy and the cultural, economic, social, civil, and political rights of Indigenous peoples in the CHT region remained unfulfilled.
“The status of the implementation of the Accord and the human rights situation in the CHT region remains depressingly similar to 2013. According to the PCJSS, only 15 percent of the provisions outlined in the Peace Accord have been fully implemented by the government, while more than 50 percent of the provisions remain unimplemented, and a quarter are either partially implemented or have seen some progress.”
To make meaningful progress towards implementing the human rights provisions of the peace accord, Amnesty International urged the government to do the following:
• Propose an amendment to Article 28 (4) of the Constitution of Bangladesh to enable specific legislation to be passed to implement the rights of indigenous people.
• Preserve and protect the cultural rights of the indigenous peoples living in the CHT region.
• Protect the rights of the indigenous people over their traditional land.
• Respect, protect, and fulfil the indigenous people’s right to participate in public life, and in the making of decisions that affect them.
• Take immediate and necessary measures to resolve land disputes, and provide remedies to the indigenous people awaiting justice for decades.
• Adopt special measures, including reinstating quotas in jobs and higher education scholarships, for the indigenous people to achieve effective equality and to secure their full and equal enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedom.