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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Jummanet mails on their signature campaign for peace in the CHT

Courtesy: Photographs have been taken from JummaNet.

Mr. Tom Eskildsen, Vice-Chairperson, Jumma Net (Japan) has been working for the CHT for many years tirelessly with his friends and he writes this mail on 6 May 2010:

Tom Eskildsen

Mr. Naoto Sakaguchi, House of Representatives, Democratic Party of Japan and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Prime Minister's official residence on 21 March 2010 when Mr. Naoto visited to handover the petition with mass signatures.

Dear Friends,
On 21st March 2010, Japanese Members of Parliament Mr. Naoto Sakaguchi and Ms. Mieko Tanaka handed an appeal for full implementation of the CHT Peace Accord with 35,757 signatures to Honorable Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, bringing to conclusion the “Global Voices for Peace in the CHT” campaign.

“This is our issue. Nobody wants to promote peace in the hill tracts more than I do!”

For details and photos, please see

Prime Minister Hasina’s passionate words struck a cord with the MPs, who went on to discuss with her about how Japan could help peace building and economic revitalization in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

“Handing in the signatures is not the goal, but a new starting point”

commented MP Sakaguchi after the meeting. MPs Sakaguchi and Tanaka worked tirelessly to visit other MPs’ offices, succeeding in collecting as many as 60 signatures from members of parliament. Gaining such strong allies in the parliament was an unexpected achievement of the signature campaign.

Arriving a couple of days earlier, I went to the office of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum to gather and count the signatures with the help of Jumma activists. The Hill Students Council, Hill Women’s Federation, Headman Association and other local organizations brought their signatures in. Piled up in a stack, they formed a mountain of paper more than two feet high and fifty pounds in weight. Signatures were sorted by country and found to have come from as many as 105 nations. With the pills of signatures, I met the MPs and headed to the Prim Minister’s office.

Unfortunately, I was taken to another room and not allowed to meet the Prime Minister, but it was possible to get an assistant to the Prime Minister to sign a form acknowledging receipt of the signatures. The meeting of the MPs and the Prime Minister was reported in the TV news,, and the local papers Daily Star and Prothom Alo.

News Link:
TV News
The Daily Star:(English)
Prothom Alo:(Bengali)

We would like to express our heart-felt gratitude to MPs Sakaguchi and Tanaka, to our colleagues of the co-sponsor organizations, the Indigenous Jumma People's Network, USA, CHT Jumma Peoples Network of the Asia Pacific, Organizing Committee Chittagong Hill Tracts Campaign, to the endorsing organizations, to the many volunteers, and to everyone who kindly contributed to this endeavor.

Press Release:

Tom Eskildsen, Vice-Chairperson, Jumma Net (Japan)

Photo: Jummanet, Japan.

From 1:30 to 3:30 PM on Saturday 19 Dec. 2009, activists took to the streets near Yurakucho station in Tokyo to collect signatures and appeal for full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord. More than thirty Jumma people living in Japan called for an end to human rights violations and for implementation of the accord in this action jointly organized by Jumma Net and Jumma Peoples Network in Japan (JPNJ), an organization of Jumma peoples living in Japan. Jumma Net's steering committee, members and supporters as well as activists working on issues such as human rights in Chechnya, Kurdish refugees, etc., also lent their support, collecting signatures and raising a common voice for peace from Japan. A total of about 20 Japanese people participated.

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