4th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
United Nations Headquarters, New York
May 16-27 2005
Agenda Item: 4c
Indigenous Women, Children and Youth
Statement by Ina Hume
On behalf of the Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Organisations, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS), Jumma Peoples’ Network International and Land is Life
Firstly let me begin by congratulating you, Madame Chair on your appointment as Chairperson of the Permanent Forum. This has given a very positive message for indigenous women, and especially your sisters from Asia, who are very proud to see you representing us.
We support the recommendations to the Permanent Forum of the Indigenous Women’s Caucus, the Asia Indigenous Peoples Caucus at this session on human rights and Women, children and youth.
The situation faced by many indigenous women, children and youth in Bangladesh is critical due to ongoing militarization and exploitation of natural resources on our ancestral lands.
Rather than make new recommendations we demand the following regarding the implementation of the previous recommendations to this forum:
Madame Chairperson, in 1993, the UN General Assembly approved a Code of Conduct in operation for all UN peacekeeping missions. Rule four states that they should "not indulge in immoral acts of sexual, physical or psychological abuse or exploitation of the local population or United Nations staff, especially women and children".
A Bangladeshi Peacekeeper allegedly raped a 14-year-old boy in Jui, a transit camp near Freetown, Sierra Leone, in June 2002. The Peacekeeper was immediately repatriated. Bangladeshi Army personnel returning from peacekeeping duties were involved in the arson attacks and rapes of nine indigenous women in Mahalchari in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in 2003.
Few U.N. peacekeepers, who are shielded from prosecution by military agreements, have faced legal action for sex crimes. The military personnel involved in the rape of nine women in Mahalchari and countless others accused of rape and sexual abuse throughout the Hill Tracts have never faced prosecution for their actions.
Where Madame Chair is the justice for these women and children, who continue to be abused at the hands of the military, who are above the law of their own lands and continue to serve as Peacekeepers as representatives of the United Nations??
Thank you Madame Chair.