JUMMA PEOPLES – Human Rights Support through Education
Chittagong Hill Tracks - A Militarization Zone, Bangladesh
Jumma Peoples – Bangladesh’s sad and shocking story of a people’s wanton destruction at the hands of their government:
The Inti Raymi Fund, along with a United States citizen who is an indigenous Jumma Person from this remote corner of East Pakistan (Bangladesh), set out to research what is happening to the shrinking population of the Jumma Peoples and hopefully, to help them in their struggle to survive. The Jumma Peoples are comprised of 15 tribes of Asian descent who have resided for a millennium in the far eastern province of East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh. These Peoples consist of the following sub-tribes: Chaka, Marma, Tripura, Tanchangya, Chak, Pankho, Mru, Murung, Bawm, Lushai, Khyang, Gurkha, Assamese, Santal and Khumi. Our research findings were consistent with documentation from the United Nations, Cultural Survival and Amnesty International, and other sources, citing profound human rights violations by the Bangladesh Government and local municipalities controlled by the national government. More specifically, it is the government mandated relocation of the illegally placed settlers who now reside side by side with the Jumma Peoples in their once wholly owned and occupied lands of the Chittagong Hills Tracts that has inflamed the region.
Government sponsored Muslim Religious relocations of Bangladesh Peoples from many other regions into this particular area has put immense political, agricultural, financial, environmental, racial, and economic pressure on the once self-sustaining Jumma Peoples. As the tremendous inflow of non-local, illegal settlers are funded by the government and receive subsidies of rice and other staples, the inequity of this situation inflames tempers in the Jumma community. Their attempts to obtain parity are rejected by the government which, instead, supports the illegal settlers. In the ensuing conflicts, thousands of the Jumma have been massacred, their sacred Buddhist temples have been burned, and the calculated mass rape of women in front of their families has been widely used as a method of inspiring fear and control. Cultural mores demand that such dishonored women be ostracized from their society resulting in huge numbers of women who are disenfranchised from their families and are living on the edges of society. It is a powerful weapon in the destruction of a people and it is calculated to do just that. The aforementioned crimes go largely unpunished as this deliberate destruction of a society is part of the larger government plan which ignores the pleas of the Jumma Peoples for criminal prosecutions for these crimes.
As a result of the continuous stream of government sponsored and/or ignored land grabs, rapes, property destruction and murders; the Jumma People’s population has seriously declined. The Inti Raymi Fund was present and supported one of the many recent “pleas for help” protests by hundreds of the local women, which go ignored by the government. (see photos below).The CHT lands have been under military occupancy recently, ostensibly to show government concern for the situation, however, to date, there is no real support for those victims of these horrible genocidal crimes.
After roughly 10 days of research in Dhaka, Chittagong and the Hill Tract Region, the Inti Raymi Fund made the decision to actively promote awareness of this heinous situation and to support the Jumma Peoples through the locally run Moanoghar School in the Rangamati District of CHT.
The Inti Raymi Fund became aware of the Jumma Peoples while attending the World Conference of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The Inti Raymi Fund provided a $25,000 Grant into Moanoghar School for the above aforementioned Human Rights Project.
FACEBOOK: MOANOGHAR SCHOOL
Rangapani, Rangamati 4500
Tel: +880 351 61043, 62796
CONTACT: Monk – Ven. Buddhadatta Bhikkhu
WEB SITE: http://www.moanoghar.org
Start Date: June, 2014
Completion Date: June, 2014
Funded so far: $27,200 USD
Total Project: $27,200 USD
Lives Affected: 1,250
Chakma, Rickshaw Driver & Chimu