In Brief: Bangladeshi monks call for demilitarization of CHT

BANGKOK, 12 May 2011 (IRIN) - The Bangladesh Jumma Buddhist Forum has called for the demilitarization [ ] of Bangladesh's Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in a statement addressed to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Bangkok.

"We are asking for the withdrawal of the 365 military camps, as promised in the 1997 Peace Accord, to end the human rights violations against the indigenous people," Dipayan Chakma, president of the Jumma Buddhists Forum, who presented the letter to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on 12 May, told IRIN.

The displacement of tens of thousands of Jummas in the past 10 years, and the burning of more than 100 houses in the past month, as well as two Buddhist temples, has been perpetrated by Bengali settlers backed by the military, according to Chakma.

"The majority of human rights violations [ ] committed against indigenous peoples in the region [are] attributed to the extensive presence of security forces," said UN special rapporteur Lars-Anderson Baer in a study conducted in April.