News No. 61/2015, Wednesday, April 29, 2015
The Chittagong Hill Tracts has been virtually made off-limits to the foreigners as the home ministry put in place new restrictions on visits to the area by foreign nationals.
This latest measure was taken at a meeting held at the home ministry’s conference room on 22 March with State Minister for home affairs Assaduzzaman Khan in the chair.
As per the new decisions, common foreign nationals are now required to obtain prior permission from the ministry of home affairs before entering the CHT.
However, foreign tourists intending to visit CHT through guide tour operators must have permission from the local district administration.
As for the foreign diplomats and those foreign nationals working with international agencies, they would require permission of the foreign ministry to visit CHT.
And foreigners working in local industries must take prior permission before setting their foot in the area.
Foreigners must also take permission from deputy commissioners to take part in any public meetings and rallies and discussions in the CHT.
Common foreign visitors and researchers are required to apply for permission at least ten days before the intended visit.
Commenting on the new restrictions, a leader of the United Peoples’ Democratic Front (UPDF) said, ‘These measures remind us of the bad old days when the CHT was a restricted area for foreign nationals.’
“This is an attempt on the part of the government to hide something from the international community, to hide the fact that repression of the common Jummas has become a fact of everyday life.’ he said and added that the new restrictions also went a long way to prove that the CHT Accord has failed to bring peace in the area.