Amnesty International yesterday shared a statement stating its concern about the construction of a five-star hotel in the Chittagong Hill Tracts that could lead to the forced eviction of the Mro people, an indigenous tribe, from their ancestral lands.
"Immediately abandon the construction of the luxury hotel on the Chimbuk-Thanchi route and ensure that any further construction or establishment on the indigenous land respects the free prior and informed consent of the community," said the statement signed by the organisation's Head of South Asia Omar Waraich.
"The construction of the luxury hotel on the route between Chimbuk and Thanchi will eventually wipe out villages and forcibly evict a large number of the Mro people. Community members said that the hotel and the associated projects may ultimately lead to the direct and indirect taking away of at least 800 acres of land of the indigenous people," the statement pointed out.
It said that rather than providing the community with necessary support to realize their own development plans, for example by improving access to education and electricity, the Bangladeshi authorities are violating their constitutional obligation to "protect and develop the unique local culture and tradition of the tribes, minor races, ethnic sects and communities".
The statement also said that Bangladesh ratified the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957, which makes it mandatory for the country to follow the articles in the convention, which includes "right of ownership, collective or individual, of the members of the populations concerned over the lands which these populations traditionally occupy shall be recognised".
The convention also includes that "arrangements shall be made to prevent persons who are not members of the populations concerned from taking advantage of these customs or of lack of understanding of the laws on the part of the members of these populations to secure the ownership or use of the lands belonging to such members."