Justice for Families of Victims of Massacres in CHT
The United Nations
The United Nations Headquarters in New York
Copy for information & necessary action to:
1. International Court of Justice, The Hague
2. Ms. Navanethem Pillay, The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva
3. The Chairperson, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, New York
4. The President, European Council, Brussels
5. Mr. Barack Obama, The President, The United States of America
6. Mr. David Cameroon, The Prime Minister, The United Kingdom
7. Mr. Jean-Marc Ayrault, The Prime Minister, France
8. Ms. Angela Merkel, Chancellor, Germany
9. Amnesty International, London
10. Human Rights Watch, Washington.
Sub: Appeal for Justice for the Families of Victims of Massacres Perpetrated by Bangladeshi Army in CHT
WE, the undersigned representing farmers, daily laborers, businessmen, students, teachers, doctors, engineers, lawyers, civil and human rights activists, and men and women of the Jumma indigenous people of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and supporters of the CHT cause, would like to draw your kind attention to the subject cited above.
Since the time of historical period CHT has been the traditional home to the 11 distinct ethnic groups who collectively identify themselves as the “Jumma indigenous people”. The Jumma indigenous people had enjoyed substantial autonomy throughout the British colonial rule (1860-1947) in the region. In order to reinforce their right to autonomy and protect them from external demographic invasion the British passed an Act known as the “Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation of 1900” in 1900. With the end of the British colonial rule, the Indian Sub-Continent emerged into the two independent sovereign nations—Pakistan and India—in 1947 on the basis of religion; the first was formed with those provinces or areas where Muslims were the majority and the second was formed with those provinces or areas where non-Muslims (Hindus, Buddhists, Christians etc.) were the majority. CHT being a non-Muslim majority area (98% Buddhists, Hindus and Christians) its people led by Sneha Kumar Chakma at al joined India on 15 August 1947 with much fanfare. However, the then Chairman of “Bengal Boundary Commission” Sir Syrill Red Cliff’s insensible and undemocratic decision declaring CHT to be a part of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) led the then Pakistani army to occupy the territory and liquidate the voice of the locals. East Pakistan emerged as an independent sovereign nation named “Bangladesh” through a bloody civil war in 1971. However, CHT continues to be ruled like a colony of Bangladesh till today! The Jumma indigenous people led by the then Member of Legislative Assembly of Bangladesh M.N. Larma submitted a memorandum to the then Constitutional Drafting Committee of the new nation, demanding for recognition of the distinct identity of the Jumma indigenous people and their right to autonomy in CHT within the framework of the Constitution. The authority did not consider their demand; rather, they, as part of the state-sponsored ethnic cleansing policy, heavily militarized CHT and perpetrated grave human rights violations, including 13 major massacres, against innocent Jumma indigenous men, women and children to pave the way for settlement of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Bengali setters transferred from various parts of Bangladesh in the 1980s and 1990s. It resulted in (1) killings of over 10,000 innocent Jumma men, women and children; (2) an exodus of some 70,000 Jummas into India as refugee; (3) hundreds of thousands of Jummas displaced within CHT; and (4) a dramatic change in the social fabric and demographic composition of CHT. Most regrettably, none of these massacres was investigated and no Bangladeshi army personnel involved in these crimes against humanity was brought to justice! The 13 major massacres perpetrated by Bangladeshi army with complete impunity are, as recorded in http://www.angelfire.com/ab/jumma/massacre.html, as follows:
1. Kaukhali Massacre, 25.03.1980;
2. Banraibari-Beltali-Belchari Massacre, 26.06.1981;
3. Telafang-Ashalong-Gurangapara-Tabalchari-Barnala Massacre, 19.09.1981;
4. Golakpatimachara-Machyachara-Tarabanchari Massacre, June-August 1983;
5. Bhusanchara Massacre, 31.05.1984;
6. Panchari Massacre, 01.05.1986;
7. Matiranga Massacre, May 1986;
8. Comillatialla-Taindong Massacre, 18-19.05.1986;
9. Hirachar-Sarbotali-Khagrachari-Pablakhali Massacres, 8-10 August, 1988;
10. Longadu Massacre, 04.05.1989;
11. Malya Massacre, 02.02.1992;
12. Logang Massacre, 10.04.1992; and
13. Naniachar Massacre, 17.11.1993.
In view of the above, we urge you to constitute a UN group for an independent investigation into the massacres noted above in order to ensure justice for the victims of these massacres--appropriate compensation for the families of victims and appropriate punishment as per national and international laws for the perpetrators of these massacres.
4 years agoNikhil Chakma India4 years ago