Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh
Publish date: 28 Nov 02
Attached file: chakma1
The final two strategies that I want to suggest to improve the security of women in the CHT, involves empowering women to play a role in rebuilding the rule of law in the CHT.
The first step might be described as “capacity building” through education. In this context women could be educated so that they had the capacity to take up those positions that are so often seen to be part of the problem—that is as police, civil administrators, army personnel, lawyers, judges and politicians.
But in the CHT context this in itself is insufficient. Experience shows us that those few Jummas who have already attained some implicated in either committing offences against indigenous women or attempting to cover up these crimes for the sake of political expediency or corruption.
The question then becomes two-fold: how do we prevent such incidents against women occurring? And where can we as women seek justice when such incidents do occur? Obviously the two questions are intimately related. Once there is a context in which it is understood that justice will be dealt out to those who commit such acts against women, the less acts are likely to occur.
On this basis I want to suggest 4 strategies that have the potential to transform the situation in the CHT.
The first two strategies restate what has already been called for in the CHT context: demilitarisation, and the resolution of land disputes.
Clearly the removal of the military from the CHT immediately diminishes the possibility of organised brutality on the part of the security forces. Likewise the return of land to those displaced families who are now in the poorest demographic, dramatically reduces the vulnerability of women as a result of poverty.
Neither of these strategies is of course new. They are the last fundamental requirement that have been fought fan over the last 25 years in the CHT, but have yet to be realised.
By returning the rule of law, and by encouraging women to play a role in that return, incidents such as Kalpana’s disappearance might in the first instance be discouraged. But even if such an incident were to occur, there would be a transparent law enforcement and legal context in place that might at least ensure justice.
To read the full presentation, please download the attached document.