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Congratulations on your appointment as the Law Adviser to the Care Taker Government.

A F Hassan Aariff

Honourable Adviser to the Care Taker Government

Special Assistant to the Chief Adviser

Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs

Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Building No. 721, Floor 7th, Building No. 4

Bangladesh Secretariat

Dhaka 1000

Bangladesh

30 March 2008

Dear Honourable Adviser,

Congratulations on your appointment as the Law Adviser to the Care Taker Government.

We commend the government’s initiative to partly enforce the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation Amendment Act of 2003 through the activation of criminal courts in the Chittagong Hill Tracts by early March 2008 (The Daily Star, 27 February 2008).

We would also call upon the government to immediately establish:

  • Civil courts in the CHT to fully enforce the CHT Regulation (Amendment) Act 2003;
  • Special Tribunals on Violence against Women in the CHT, to eliminate discrimination against CHT citizens vis a vis other citizens of Bangladesh.

Reflecting on your previous work in defending human rights, including your work as a founder member and the President of the Odhikar, and remembering your visit with a multidisciplinary group of activists on an informal investigation at the Logang massacre site in 1992, we would like to draw your attention again on the CHT.

We, the Jumma diaspora and Jumma supporters around the world, are concerned about the resumption of illegal land grabbing by the Bengali settlers with active and passive support from a good number of individually motivated military personnel and civil administrators in the CHT since 2007 (for example, Human rights Practices Report on Bangladesh by US State Department 2007, Pratham Alo, 11 February 2008, reports of the Hill Watch Human Rights Forum and the Kapaeeng Watch).

We ask for your immediate attention on the following demands which are important in resolving long standing land dispute in the CHT, and by extension restoring long lasting peace and prosperity in Bangladesh:

  1. Immediate action from the government to stop the resumption of illegal land grabbing in the CHT;
  2. Activate the Land Commission by amending the CHT Land (Dispute Settlement) Commission Act 2001, for example, the most important relate to the mandate, functions and process of the Land Commission’s work, including:

(i)         the undemocratic veto powers currently vested upon the Chairperson (Section 7 (5)) which is not enjoyed by comparable                          judicial and quasi-     judicial bodies in Bangladesh or elsewhere;

(ii)        the Section 2(f) which exclude the indigenous CHT refugees repatriated from India under a 16-point Accord signed by the then                              Bangladesh government and the indigenous CHT leaders in 1992;  and

(iii)       the provisions, under the Section 6 and Section 13 of the CHT Land  Commission Act 2001, which are inconsistent with the CHT Peace                                   Accord.

Yours sincerely,

CHT Jumma Peoples Network of the Asia Pacific

Warawara School of Indigenous Studies

Room 320 W3A

Macquarie University

NSW 2109 Australia

Jumma Peoples Network – Japan

E-mail:   jumchakma@hotmail.com

Jumma Peoples Network – Korea

E-mail:   jpn2@hotmail.com

Jumma Peoples Network – UK

E-mail:   Jpn_uk@hotmail.com

Website: www.jpnuk.org.uk

Jumma Peoples Network – USA

E-mail: bhikkhubuddhratna@yahoo.com

Jumma Peoples Network – International

E-mail/add: vanishigrites@hotmail.com

Jumma Net – Japan

E-mail:   office@jumma.sytes.net

Vanishigrites – UK

E-mail: vanishigrites@hotmail.com

Survival International – UK

E-mail: info@survival-international.org

Organising Committee CHT Campaign (OCCHTC)

P O Box 11699

1001 GR Amsterdam

The Netherlands

E-mail: desh@xs4all.nl

Copy to:

•           Barrister Raja Devasish Roy

Special Assistant to the Chief Adviser

Ministry of the CHT Affairs, Bangladesh

Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Building No. 4

Room No. 610, 6th Floor

Bangladesh Secretariat

Dhaka 1000

Bangladesh

E-mail: mochtadh@bttb.net.bd

•           Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST)

E-mail: mail@blast.org.bd

•           Advocate Pratim Roy

President, Rangamati Bar Association

Rangamati, Bangladesh

E-mail: kapocht@yahoo.com

Copy to:

a.         The Hon Stephen Smith MP

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Suite M1 46, Parliament House

Canberra ACT 2600 Australia

E-mail: Stephen.Smith.MP@aph.gov.au

b.         The Rt Hon David Miliband MP

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

King Charles Street

London SW1A 2AH

E-mail: milibandd@parliament.uk

c.         Mike Gapes MP

Chairman

Foreign Affairs Committee Office

House of Commons, London SW1A OAA

E-mail: foraffcom@parliament.uk

d.         Ms Geeta Pasi

Chargé d’Affaires, a. i.

Embassy of the United States

Baridhara, Dhaka

Bangladesh

e.         Masahiko Koumura

Minister for Foreign Affairs

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Kasumigaseki 2-2-1, Chiyoda-ku

Tokyo 100-891, Japan

f.          Koji Sugiyama

Deputy Director, Southwest Asia Division

Southeast and Southwest Asia Affairs Department

Asian and Ocenian Affairs Bureau

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Kasumigaseki 2-2-1, Chiyoda-ku

Tokyo 100-8919, Japan

Fax: 81- 3- 5501 8266

g.         Hon. Yu Myung-hwan

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade

Republic of Korea

E-mail: web@mofat.go.kr

h.         Minister, Ministry of Justice

e-mail: moj@moj.gov.kr

i.          Amnesty International – Korea

e-mail: amnesty@org.kr

j.          UNHCR – Korea

e-mail: unhcr@un.org.kr

k.         PNAN & N BSP

e-mail: pnan@pnan.org

l.          The Hon John Dowd AO QC

President, International Commission of the Jurists, Australia

GPO Box 173

Sydney NSW 2001

Australia

e-mail: president@icj_aust.org.au

m.        Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

United Nationa, 2 UN Plaza

Room DC2 – 1772

New York, NY, 10017

e-mail: indigenouspermanentforum@un.org



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