If the government establishes the indigenous people's right to land in Chittagong Hill Tracts, other rights will be defended automatically, National Human Rights Commission Chairman Dr Mizanur Rahman said yesterday, laying emphasis on the full implementation of the 1997 peace accord in the shortest possible time.
He said the country could not make progress without the advancement of the Adivasis.
Mizanur called for reserving parliamentary seats for indigenous people, wherein only the indigenous communities will vote to pick their lawmakers. This will be a good step towards ensuring their rights and dignity, he told a seminar titled "Progression Status of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Recommendations to Bangladesh: Indigenous Peoples' Perspective" at the capital's Cirdap.
Kapaeeng Foundation and ActionAid Bangladesh jointly organised it.
A roadmap is necessary to fully execute the CHT accord and thus avoid future unrest there, viewed Rana Dasgupta, general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council.
Observing that the hill women and girls are being treated as "war booty" like the Pakistan army did in 1971, Nijera Kori Coordinator Khushi Kabir, also member of the International CHT Commission, demanded stern punishment for the perpetrators.
In a keynote paper, Binota Moy Dhamai of Kapaeeng Foundation said Dhaka affirmed in the second cycle of UPR of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Bangladesh, held in Geneva in April last year, that it would take measures to end the culture of impunity and punish human rights violators in CHT.
But there is no instance of a culprit getting punished, he said, adding that in most cases, the perpetrators eluded justice, particularly in the cases of land grabbing and violence against indigenous women.