Land Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh
The book describes the struggle of the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts region in south-eastern Bangladesh to regain control over their ancestral land and resource rights. From sovereign nations to to the limited autonomy of today, the report details the legal basis of the land rights of the indigenous peoples and the different tools employed by successive administrations to exploit their resources and divest them of their ancestral lands and territories. The book argues that development programmes need to be implemented in a culturally appropriate manner to be truly sustainable, and with the consent and participation of the peoples concerned. Otherwise, they only serve to push an already vulnerable people into greater impoverishment and hardship. The devastation wrought by large-scale dams and forestry policies cloaked as development programmes is succinctly described in this report, as is population transfer (transmigration) and militarization. The interaction of all these factors in the process of assimilation and integration is the background for this book, analyzed within the perspective of indigenous and national law, and complemented by international legal approaches. The book concludes with an update on the developments since the signing of the Peace Accord between the Government of Bangladesh and the Jana Sanghati Samiti (JSS) on 2 December 1997.