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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GOC, 24 Infantry Div briefs the CHT Commission today

A CHT Commission mission starts its field visit with the briefing of the General Officer Commanding, 24 Infantry Division, based at Chittagong cantonment in the morning. The mission is on its way to Khagarachari for a 6-day long visit to three hill districts of the CHT.

Two Co-Chairpersons of the CHT Commission, Ms. Sultana Kamal, prominent human rights voice and Ms. Elsa Stamatopoulou-Robbins, former Director of UNPFII secretariat and presently a Lecturer at the Columbia University, while other mission members are Ms. Jeneke Arens, adviser to the commission, Dr. Swapan Adnan, commission member and Barrister Sara Hossain, commission member are in the visit.

GOC, it has been learnt, desired to give the CHT Commission a briefing on its way to the CHT. It has also been learnt that there will four brigade commanders posted in the CHT with the GOC, during the briefing.

It is anticipated that the Sajaek or Baghaihat issue (Feb 2010) and also the Land Commission issue will be the main consideration of the mission, apart from other human rights and CHT Accord concerns.

The mission was scheduled to visit the CHT on 7th instant and it was rescheduled after receiving a request from the Foreign Ministry for delaying it due to SAARC summit and other pre-occupied programmes.

It is noteworthy that Mr. Lars Baer, former UNPFII member and President of Saami Parliament in Sweden was appointed as Special Rapporteur by the 9th session of the UNPFII to study the status of the CHT Accord of 1997. His study report was approved by the 10th UNPFII session on 25 May 2011 during a day-long debate. Afterwards, this report was adopted by the ECOSOC without bringing any changes, despite serious opposition in both UNPFII and ECOSOC by Bangladesh govt representative.

In the report, in serial 56, the Special Rapporteur recommends for, “Develop a mechanism to strictly monitor and screen the human rights records of national army personnel prior to allowing them to participate in peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the United Nations.” This recommendation has angered a former Maj. Gen. with his body language at a TV talk show.

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