Chittagong Hill Tracts White Paper. The Issues of Conflict, Human Rights, Development, and Land of the Indigenous Peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh 2003-2006. First English version, 10 February 2009
Over the years, a number of international NGOs such as the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission, Survival International and Amnesty International, as well as UN bodies such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights have published reports on the problems of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. Most of these reports were prepared in the mid-eighties to early nineties, during those politically tumultuous years in Bangladesh when a civil war was raging in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and entry into the region was strictly restricted by the Bangladesh government. The Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission in particular, after its formation in 1989, issued a series of in-depth reports on the CHT political and human rights situation in 1991, 1992, 1994, 1997 and 2000. These reports were the chief information sources and guideposts for worldwide activists seeking peace in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
However, for various reasons, the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission did not issue any reports after 2000. In recent years, international human rights NGOs have been unable to do much more than to issue alerts and protest letters in response to some large scale attacks and other incidents in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. There are thought to be several reasons for this. The first is waning of the once high international attention due to the over-simplistic view that “the CHT conflict ended” with signing of a peace accord between the Bangladesh government and the Parbattya Chattagram Jana Sanghati Samiti (Chittagong Hill Tracts People’s Solidarity Association or United People’s Party, hereafter “PCJSS”) in 1997. Another reason is the schism in the movement of the indigenous peoples of the Chittagong Hill Tracts over the peace accord, which has complicated the CHT issue, making it even more difficult to comprehend.
Jumma Net is a Japanese NGO formed by volunteers in April 2002 with the goal of promoting peace in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. We toured the Chittagong Hill Tracts in 2002 to assess the feasibility of peace-building activities there. It was a series of violent incidents that occurred in 2003 that propelled Jumma Net into action. Upon learning of the attacks that occurred in Bhuiochara and Mahalchari of Khagrachari district in April and August of 2003, we began programs to provide relief to the victims. This led to more direct engagement with the issues of the Chittagong Hill Tracts