Wednesday, February 29, 2012
The longstanding land dispute in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) should be resolved based on equity, said National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman yesterday.
“A concept is there that all citizens have the equal rights to own lands in the CHT. One kind of politics is hidden there in this concept to fool people,” he told a dialogue at Cirdap auditorium in the city.
“But since the people of the region are underprivileged, the land dispute issues should be resolved on the basis of equity,” he stressed.
Nagarik Sanghati, Parbattya Campaign Group and Campaign for Sustainable Rural Livelihood (CSRL) jointly organised the national dialogue tilted ‘Plan to Resolve Land Dispute of Indigenous People in CHT’.
Chaired by Nagarik Sanghati President Prof Dr ASM Atiqur Rahman, the dialogue was also addressed by columnist Syed Abul Maksud, Prof Mizbah Kamal, CSRL Member Secretary Manisha Biswas, indigenous leader UK Jam and General Secretary of Nagarik Sanghati Sharifuzzaman Sharif.
Abul Maksud said the self-identity of the country’s indigenous people is now at stake due to the land dispute in the CHT. “The right to land is as important as that to survival.”
Speaking as the chief guest, the NHRC boss said the community ownership of indigenous people over land is not recognised by the constitution. “Had it been recognised by the constitution, the customary ownership of land would have been protected.”
About the country’s security status, he said it was not possible to protect a country with arms and weapons and deploying military forces. “The security could be ensured by creating a relationship of love among its citizens.”
He urged all to come forward to remove all the prevailing differences of opinions and conflicts to establish people’s rights.
Prof Mizanur assured that if any initiative was taken to resolve the CHT land dispute, the NHRC would provide its all-out support to make it a success.