New government commits to peace accord

Chakmas, Bangladesh
Chakmas, Bangladesh
© Mark McEvoy/Survival

The new government of Bangladesh, which swept to power in a landslide election victory on 29 December, has committed itself to honouring the 1997 peace accord with the Jumma tribal people.

The accord was designed to end years of violent repression of the eleven Jumma tribes at the hands of the Bangladesh military.

The Awami League, led by Sheikh Hasina who was sworn in as Prime Minister yesterday, is the party that signed the accord in 1997. Its election manifesto commits it to fully implementing the accord. The party won 230 seats out of 299, giving it the power to rewrite the Constitution and bring about the promised reforms.

Last Monday’s elections follow two years of emergency rule by a caretaker government in Bangladesh. During this time, violence and intimidation against the Jumma tribal people in the Chittagong Hill Tracts intensified. More than 50 indigenous leaders and activists were arrested, many on false arms charges.