Bangladesh: Indigenous girls targets of rape and murder in Chittagong Hill Tracts
Two teenage girls of the Tripura ethnic community were murdered last week in Jangal Mahadevpur village, Bangladesh. Indigenous women and girls in Bangladesh are increasingly being raped in land-related conflicts, especially in militarized areas.
Police reports inform that the parents of the victims were busy carrying out cultivation when the murders were committed. The accused hung the bodies with ropes to make it look like a suicide, after raping them.
Even though the key suspect was arrested last week, the family still urges the police to ensure the family’s safety.
Increasing violence against indigenous girls and women
These kinds of attacks are not isolated cases. The numbers speak for themselves: incidents of violence against indigenous women have been increasing every year, according to Kapaeeng Foundation.
20 years after the government of Bangladesh signed a peace accord to solve long-standing territorial and natural resources conflicts, violence against indigenous women and girls is intensifying as a tool in the midst of the unresolved conflict.
In the densely populated country, the struggle over land and resources is extremely present in the everyday life of the communities. Rape continues to be the type of assault that indigenous women are most often victims of.
According to Kapaeeng Foundation’s latest research that will soon be published, only in 2017 an estimated 56 indigenous women were sexually or physically assaulted by 75 alleged perpetrators, most of them non-indigenous. What is more, most of the rape victims were children and girls below 18 years old. All of this without contemplating the many cases that go unreported because the victims fear both retaliation by the offenders and social ostracism.
Indigenous women and girls are left alone in a fragile state of unprotectedness. They face challenges while accessing medical treatment and legal justice, particularly in remote areas, where they navigate a health- and justice system that does not recognise their indigenous languages and cultural traditions. Deep-rooted discriminatory practices such as non-cooperation of local administrations along with lack of adequate treatment, compensation and rehabilitation are naturalised human rights violations.