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IWGIA condemns killing of four Indigenous leaders killed in Chittagong Hill Tracts

IWGIA has just learned that four Indigenous leaders were killed in Khagrachhari District in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh on Monday 11 December. According to our sources, the leaders were allegedly killed by a masked vigilante group. A further three leaders were abducted and their location remains unknown.

“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the killings of these Indigenous activists. Indigenous people in the CHT have every right to freely assemble and stand up for their rights. The Government of Bangladesh must do more to live up to its obligations of the CHT Peace Accord and protect Indigenous voices and lives in the CHT and throughout the country,” Kathrin Wessendorf, IWGIA Executive Director, said.

>> Read the statement by the International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission here

The victims were lodging in a house in the village of Anil Para where they were staying overnight as they prepared for a youth conference to take place the next day, as well as other awareness raising programmes on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

According to reports, unidentified armed assailants entered the house on Monday evening between 22:00 and 23:00 where they shot the four leaders on-site and abducted the other three. It is yet unclear who the vigilante group were, though several Indigenous organisations allege this happened at the hands of a state-sponsored group known as the Mukhosh Bahini (or Masked Force) formed by youths recruited by the Bangladesh Army to carry out crimes against Indigenous individuals.

The uncle of one of the victims has filed a case at the local police station.

IWGIA calls on authorities to carry out a swift and impartial investigation into those responsible and to hold them to account. We further continue to call for the Government of Bangladesh to abide by the Peace Accord it signed and implement a time-bound, inclusive plan for the completion of its mandated commitments that respects the human rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the CHT.

>> For more on the human rights situation of Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh read our latest joint submission to the UN here

Tags: Human rights, Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders

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IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting and defending Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Read more.

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