News No. 98/2015: Wednesday, July 01, 2015
ADVOCATE Ripan Chakma, chief of the UPDF Human Rights Monitoring Cell, in a statement today, July 01, 2015, stated that political repression on the United People's Democratic Front (UPDF) and its front organizations has intensified, with its six activists killed and 69 members and supporters arrested in the last six months from January - June this year.
‘Although most of the arrested have been released on half, 17 UPDF leaders and activists, including Riko Chakma, Ratan Smriti Chakma and Elton Chakma, are still being held in Khagrachari and Rangamati district jails,’ stated Ripan Chakma, adding that they were arrested on false charges of ‘possessing illegal arms’, ‘extortion’, ‘vandalism’ and ‘obstruction to government officers' duties’.
Ripan Chakma described the human rights situation of the CHT as ‘serious and alarming’ and said: ‘There is no democratic environment in the CHT; the military is in absolute control of everything; the UPDF and its front organizations are not allowed to organize public meetings and demonstrations.’
He alleged that in many areas the Jumma people have to live in constant fear of arrest, while ‘incidents of arrests of innocent people, harassment, intimidation, raids and searches are reported almost daily.’
Ripan Chakma also accused the army of patronizing the Borkha Party vigilante group, which is responsible for the killing of two UPDF members in January-June this year.
Ripan Chakma expressed concern over the increasing number of sexual assaults against the Jumma women.
According to him, at last 9 Jumma girls and women were raped and 11 others subjected to attempted rape from January - June this year.
Advocate Ripan Chakma suggested eight recommendations which include, among others, an end to political repression on UPDF and restoration of full democratic environment by releasing all the arrested UPDF activists, taking appropriate measures to stop Santu group violence, exemplary punishment of those involved in sexual violence and withdrawal of the army and settlers from the CHT.