31 December 2013 |

Bangladesh: Internal displacement in brief

As of December 2013

 

There was no updated comprehensive information on the number of IDPs due to conflict, violence and human rights violations since the government’s count of more than 128,000 internally displaced Pahari and Bengali families, or more than 667,000 individuals, in 2000. Based on available information it was estimated that there were up to 280,000 IDPs in Bangladesh at the end of 2013.

The 1997 peace agreement between the government and the United People’s Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (PCJSS) has still not been fully implemented. The accord ended 24 years of conflict that broke out in 1973 in the south-eastern Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region after the government rejected demands for greater autonomy from non-Bengali indigenous people known collectively as Pahari or Jumma.

The conflict forced Paharis to flee to the forests and to neighbouring India, while the government supported the settlement of Bengalis, Bangladesh’s majority community, including on Pahari land, as a counterinsurgency measure. Some settlers were then also displaced as a result of the fighting.

Tensions between Paharis and Bengalis have continued, with clashes displacing more people and preventing others from returning to their homes. Some have reportedly been forcibly evicted by the state or private companies without receiving appropriate compensation. IDPs are widely dispersed and face a number of challenges, including insecurity, lack of access to basic services and difficulty in rebuilding their agricultural livelihoods in the absence of secure tenure.

An amendment to the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Commission Act 2001 intended to improve the settlement of land disputes is due for approval in 2014.