Policy dialogue on the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord

On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord, ministers, indigenous and tribal peoples’ representatives, civil society, academia and international organisations gathered at Dhaka University for a policy dialogue on the implementation of the Accord. The policy dialogue took place from the 2nd - 4th December 2012 and was arranged by the Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous Peoples with the support of ILO, UNDP, the European Union, the High Commission of Canada, Danida and Research and Development Collective (RDC).

Important guests at the seminar included several high level dignitaries including Professor Dr Gowher Rizvi, special adviser to the Prime Minister and Mr Shantu Larma, the leader of PCJSS and signatory to the CHT Accord. The Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord was signed on the 2nd December 1997 by the Prime Minister of the Government of Bangladesh and the head of PCJSS, and has since been in the process of implementation.

During the three day programme issues related to the Accord were presented and discussed including the promotion of peace and harmony in the Hill Tracts, land issues and the further development and strengthening of CHT institutions.

In his speech Mr Gagan Rajbhandari, Officer in Charge in ILO Bangladesh, mentioned that the development indicators of the Chittagong Hill Tracts are behind the national average and deserves special attention. He also mentioned that many provisions of CHT Accord are in line with the ILO Conventions 107 and 169 on indigenous and tribal peoples’ rights.

The policy dialogue gave the opportunity for different stakeholders and organisations to voice their opinions on the implementation process of the Accord as well as the general situation for indigenous and tribal peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region.

Among the many recommendations that were made during the seminar were the importance of creating a time plan for the further implementation of the Accord.