Reconstituted CHT body goes to hills today

A delegation of the newly reconstituted Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Commission today begins a five-day visit to the three hill districts to observe the prevailing situation there and help promote human rights, democratic practices and land rights of indigenous people.
The commission was reformed a couple of months ago in Copenhagen. Britain's Lord Eric Avebury, vice chair of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, and Sultana Kamal, former adviser of caretaker government, are now co-chairs of the 12-member commission.
Lord Avebury arrived in Dhaka yesterday.
While visiting the CHT region, the delegation will assess political as well as human rights situation in the hill districts of Rangamati, Bandarban and Khagrachhari in the post-CHT peace accord era.
Members of the team including Avebury and Sultana yesterday exchanged views with journalists working on CHT issues in the capital. Avebury said CHT issue has become a very complicated one, and that the commission would talk with different stakeholders to have an outcome.
Commission members Prof Muhammed Zafar Iqbal and Shapan Adnan, and prof Meghna Guha Thakurata, adviser to the commission, among others, took part in the exchange of views.
Formed in 1990, the CHT commission operated till 2001 and published a report on misery of CHT people titled 'Life is not Ours' and updated it four times.
Our Rangamati correspondent reports: The CHT commission delegation is likely to visit Khagrachhari today, Rangamati tomorrow and Bandarban the following day.
The team members will have discussions with local political and civil society leaders, public representatives and civil and military officials separately.
In Rangamati, a view exchange meeting will be held tomorrow evening at Rajbari in the town. Leaders of indigenous and Bengalee-speaking people will be present there.
Various issues including implementation of CHT peace accord and land rights ethnic communities may come up at the meeting.
The CHT commission comprises Avebury, Sultana, Ida Ncolaisen, Lars-Anders Baer, Victoria Tauli Corpuz, Shapan Adnan, Sara Hossain, Zafar Iqbal, Kuupik Kleist, Lee Swepstone, Robert Evans and Hideaki Uemura.


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