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Justice for victims of massacres and decolonization of CHT

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The Secretary-General

The United Nations

The United Nations Headquarters

New York

Copy for information & necessary action to:
1. The President, International Court of Justice, Peace Palace, Carnegieplein 2, 2517 KJ The Hague, The Netherlands 
2. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Palais des Nations, CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

3. The Chairperson, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Secretariat Building, United Nations Headquarters, Room S-2968 (29th Floor), New York, NY 10017, USA  

4. The President, European Parliament, Brussels 

5. The President, The United States of America, The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20500, USA

6.The Prime Minister, The United Kingdom, 10 Downing Street, London, SW1A 2AA, UK

7. The Prime Minister, France 

8. The Chancellor, Bundeskanzleramt, Bundeskanzlerin, Willy-Brandt-Straße 110557 Berlin, Germany 

9. Amnesty International, 1 Easton Street, London, WC1X 0DW, UK 
10. Human Rights Watch, 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor, New York, NY 10118-3299, USA.

Sub: Justice for victims of massacres and decolonization of CHT

Dear Sir/Madam,

Since the time of historical period Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) with about 1300 sq. km. in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh has been the traditional home to the 11 distinct ethnic groups who today collectively identify themselves as the “Jumma indigenous people” in the context of the history of colonial rule in their homeland.

The Jumma indigenous people had enjoyed substantial autonomy throughout the British colonial rule (1860-1947) in the region. In order to reinforce their right to autonomy and protect them from external demographic invasion the British passed an Act known as the “Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation” in 1900. With the end of the British colonial rule, the Indian Sub-Continent emerged into the two independent sovereign nations—Pakistan and India—in 1947 on the basis of religion; the first was formed with those provinces or areas where Muslims were the majority and the second was formed with those provinces or areas where non-Muslims (Hindus, Buddhists, Christians etc.) were the majority. CHT being a non-Muslim majority area (98% Buddhists, Hindus and Christians in 1947) her people led by Sneha Kumar Chakma at al joined India on 15 August 1947 with much fanfare. However, the insensible, illegitimate and undemocratic decision of the then Chairman of “Bengal Boundary Commission” Sir Syrill Red Cliffe  declaring CHT to be a part of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) led the then Pakistani army to occupy the territory and liquidate the voice of the Jumma people. East Pakistan emerged as an independent sovereign nation named “Bangladesh” through a bloody civil war in 1971. However, CHT continues to be ruled as a colony of Bangladesh till today! CHT is a colonial legacy East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) inherited from the British during the partition of the Sub-continent in 1947. With the end of the World War II, the United Nations came into existence and all the former colonies of the British were decolonized and made free. So there is no ground for CHT to be under brutal colonial rule of Bangladesh, a nation with a constitution of one race (Bengali), one language (Bangla) and one religion (Islam), today. It is time to decolonize CHT and return it to its original owner, the Jumma indigenous people. 

In fact, the Jumma indigenous people led by the then Member of Legislative Assembly of Bangladesh M.N. Larma submitted a memorandum to the then Constitutional Drafting Committee of the new nation, demanding recognition of the distinct identity of the Jumma indigenous people and their right to self-determination in CHT within the framework of the Constitution. The Bangladeshi authority denied  their demand; rather, they, as part of their state-sponsored ethnic cleansing policy, heavily militarized CHT and perpetrated grave human rights violations, including 13 major massacres, against innocent Jumma indigenous men, women and children to pave the way for settlement of hundreds of thousands of Muslim Bengali setters moved from various parts of Bangladesh in the 1980s and 1990s under a state-sponsored population transfer program. It resulted in (1) killings of over 10,000 innocent Jumma men, women and children; (2) an exodus of some 70,000 Jummas into India as refugee; (3) displacement of hundreds of thousands of Jummas within CHT; and (4) a dramatic change in the social fabric and demographic composition of CHT. Most regrettably, none of these massacres was investigated and no Bangladeshi army personnel involved in these crimes against humanity was brought to justice! The 13 major massacres perpetrated by Bangladeshi army with complete impunity are, as recorded in, as follows: 

1. Kaukhali Massacre, 25.03.1980;
2. Banraibari-Beltali-Belchari Massacre, 26.06.1981;
3. Telafang-Ashalong-Gurangapara-Tabalchari-Barnala Massacre, 19.09.1981;
4. Golakpatimachara-Machyachara-Tarabanchari Massacre, June-August 1983;
5. Bhusanchara Massacre, 31.05.1984;
6. Panchari Massacre, 01.05.1986;
7. Matiranga Massacre, May 1986;
8. Comillatialla-Taindong Massacre, 18-19.05.1986;
9. Hirachar-Sarbotali-Khagrachari-Pablakhali Massacres, 8-10 August, 1988;
10. Longadu Massacre, 04.05.1989;
11. Malya Massacre, 02.02.1992;
12. Logang Massacre, 10.04.1992; and
13. Naniachar Massacre, 17.11.1993.

The state-sponsored demographic invasion and ethnic cleansing policy of Bangladesh in CHT continues unabated till today. It has threatened the very identity of the indigenous people to extinction. It is unjustificable in the today's world of human rights, democracy and cultural pluralism. 

In view of the above, we, the undersigned Jummas and the supporters of the CHT cause, urge you to (1) constitute a high level UN team for an independent investigation into the massacres noted above in order to ensure justice for the victims of these massacres—proper compensation for the families of victims and appropriate punishment as per national and international laws for the perpetrators of these massacres and (2) take urgent and necessary steps for decolonization of CHT and succession of the region to her original people by giving them an opportunity to exercise their inalienable right to self-determination as per the Article 1 (2)  of the UN Charter and the Article 3 of the Resolution No. 61/295 adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 September 2007 in New York. 

Yours sincerely,


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