Community Women Against Abuse

We Stand for Equality, Secularism and Peace


Leave a comment

Protesters Demand Justice for Rape Victims and Rani Yan Yan

 Press Release by Jumma Peoples Network, UK

 London, 15 March 2018

Protest against rape and sexual abuse of Marma sisters outside Bangladesh High Commission in London, 15 March 2018. Copy right: JPNUK.

 

The Jumma Peoples Network UK, a non-profit, non-aligned human rights organisation based in the UK, in association with Survival International organised a peaceful demonstration outside the Bangladesh High Commission in London on Thursday 15 March 2018.

This event was held to condemn the physical assault on Chakma Queen Rani Yan Yan committed on 15 February 2018 at the Rangamati General Hospital and the rape and sexual assault on two indigenous Marma sisters on 22 January 2018, by the Bangladesh Security Forces. The attacks took place in their home in Orasori village in Rangamati Hill District, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Protesters condemned the attacks on indigenous women’s and their human rights defenders.

Two minutes’ silence was observed as a mark of respect for the victims of rape and sexual assault and to express solidarity with Rani Yan Yan and other women Human Rights defenders.

Protest against rape and sexual violence outside the BDHC in London 15 March 2018. Copyright: Pushpita Gupta

An indigenous woman from the CHT holds placard asking for Justice for Marma Sisters at the protest against sexual violence against indigenous women. BDHC, London, 15 March 2018. Copyright: Pushpita Gupta.

Kumar Sivasish Roy, Ujjaini Roy and Lal Amlai from Jumma Peoples Network UK, Chris Chapman from Amnesty International, James Swapan Peris from Campaign for the Protection of Religious Minorities of Bangladesh and Rebecca Durand, a womens human rights activist spoke at the event. Members from the Nirmul Committee, Community Women Against Abuse, Jumma Community, and more well-wishers were also present there.

At the end of the protest rally, a joint petition by the Survival International and Jumma Peoples Network, UK was submitted to the Bangladesh High Commission to be delivered to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

 

 

 

 

 

Please click to down load:

Survival International and Jumma Peoples Network UK joint petition to PM of Bangladesh 

 

Press Release – Demo in London and Survival International and Jumma Peoples Network UK – joint petition to PM of Bangladesh

……………………………………………..

Thank you for your solidarity.

Protest against rape and sexual violence in the CHT took place outside Bangladesh High Commission in London, 15 March 2018. Copyright: Pushpita Gupta.

For more information please contact:

Email: jpn_uk@hotmail.com

Web: www.jpnuk.org.uk

 

Note:The International Council for Indigenous Peoples of Chittagong Hill Tracts & Jumma Peoples Network International started the below petition to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and 4 others

You can Sign the petition if you agree with the statement below:

https://www.change.org/p/bangladesh-justice-for-raped-marma-sisters-rani-yan-yan-and-indigenous-women-human-rights-defenders

Justice for raped Marma sisters, Rani Yan Yan and Indigenous women human rights defenders

 

We the undersigned individuals and organisations are deeply concerned about the recent incident of sexual violence against two indigenous Marma sisters on 22/1/18 [1] and assaults on Rani Yan Yan (the Chakma Queen) and Women Human Rights Defenders on 15/2/18 [2] in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh perpetrated by Bangladesh military and security forces.

Human rights groups report there has been a concerted and coordinated effort to cover up the rape and sexual assault [3] and also attempts to impose a mainstream media blackout [4].

Incidents of rape and sexual assault are common in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, with a young Tripura girl reportedly raped on International Womens’ Day [5]. From 2014 to June 2017, there have been 297 reported cases [6] of violence against indigenous women and girls none of these cases have been properly prosecuted, nor the perpetrators punished.  Rape and sexual violence targeting indigenous women and girls are part of a systematic and brutal strategy to terrorise the indigenous communities and displace them from their lands. [7]

Background

On 22 January 2018 a patrol party from Farua Army Camp carried out house to house searches in Orasori village, Bilaichari district in Rangamati, Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh They entered the house of an indigenous Marma family. Two men raped the 18-year-old sister and seriously sexually assaulted the younger 14-year-old sister.  Their seven-year-old brother was present in the room.

The following day the sisters were taken to hospital for treatment. Whilst at the hospital they were placed under tight surveillance, unlawfully detained [8] and subjected to degrading treatment.  Rani Yan-Yan and other women’s human rights defenders attended the sisters for 20 consecutive days, to provide support and to bear witness to their treatment. One of the reasons Rani Yan Yan visited the sisters, is because she is also from the Marma indigenous group and can communicate with the sisters in their mother tongue. The sisters said they were scared to return to their village, for fear of retaliation for speaking out.  A writ was filed to release the sisters into the protective custody of Raja Devasish Roy and Rani Yan Yan. [9]

Attack on Rani Yan Yan and Women Human Rights Defender

The parents of the two girls, having allegedly been placed under extreme pressure from the Bangladeshi security forces, filed a counter-writ for their daughters’ release, which was upheld on the 13/2/18.  This led to a raid on the hospital by security forces and plain-clothes personnel when the sisters were forcibly taken from the hospital (15/3/18). Rani Yan-Yan and a woman human rights defender were assaulted, kicked and beaten trying to protect the sisters who were refusing to leave.  A physical assault of such magnitude on Rani Yan Yan is tantamount to an attack on all the indigenous people of the Chakma Circle. The Chakma Raj is held in high esteem and is considered to be the custodians of centuries-old traditions and way of life.

Accountability and Scrutiny

There is an intense lack of scrutiny of the situation facing Indigenous peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.  It is notable that Bangladesh is the largest contributing country to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (UN DPKO).  It is abhorrent to think of perpetrators of such crimes serving as UN Peacekeepers.  We welcome the statement made by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (4/3/16) pledging reforms to improve accountability for abuse by peacekeepers including measures for stricter vetting of new UN personnel and quicker investigations. [10]

International Scrutiny and Safeguarding

It is commendable the international community is acting to combat the sexual exploitation and abuse of vulnerable women and children in communities by aid workers from International NGOs such as Oxfam and Save the Children.  However, the same level of scrutiny and accountability is required for all recipients of aid, including Bangladesh, especially when there are credible reports of vulnerable women and children and being sexually abused by those in power and having little or no means of holding those in power to account for their crimes.

Recommendations:

We call on Honourable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Government of Bangladesh to:

  • End impunity for security forces for sexual and physical violence against indigenous women in the CHT
  • Bring all perpetrators of sexual violence to justice in the CHT and plains of Bangladesh in accordance to international standards;
  • Ensure access to justice for the Marma sisters in accordance to international standards, as well as ensuring their physical and psychological wellbeing
  • Carry out an independent, impartial investigation into the attack on Rani Yan Yan and the Women Human Rights Defender and bring the perpetrators to justice
  • Urgently ensure the security of Rani Yan Yan and the Chakma royal family and other human rights defenders in the Chittagong Hill Tracts
  • Implement the 1997 CHT Peace Accords in full before its 21st anniversary in December 2018. [11]
  • Demilitarise the CHT and removal of army camps in accordance to the 1997 CHT Accord

We further request assurance from the Government of Bangladesh to take all precautions to ensure that there is proper scrutiny of all personnel, including military from Bangladesh prior to serving in the United Nations to certify ‘they have not committed or are alleged to have committed criminal offences and/or violations of international law..’

We would like to make the following recommendations to the United Nations and the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations to improve the accountability of both civilian and military personnel serving the UN. We request the UN to:

  • Exercise due diligence and ensure proper screening prior to deployment of personnel from Bangladesh that are alleged to be involved in criminal offences and violations of international human rights law.  (In accordance with UN Human Rights Screening Policy 2012) [12]
  • Allow Bangladeshi and Indigenous women’s human rights groups, women human rights defenders from the to submit details of named personnel involved in these disturbing events, which are in clear violation of international human rights law, as well as criminal offences.
  • The UN establish a database of personnel unsuitable for UN service. This should be open to contributions from indigenous women and human rights groups with experience and evidence of human rights abuses
  • Consider how information on allegations of human rights abusers can be gathered from countries with poor rule of law and lack of access to justice

We urge the Special Rapporteurs on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Women, Torture, Child Protection, on Violence against Children and for Children and Armed Conflict, Human Rights Defenders and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to urgently investigate the recent events with a view to making recommendations to provide protection and access to justice for the Marma sisters, Rani Yan Yan and women human rights defenders, reporting back to the United Nations at CEDAW and via the appropriate mechanisms.

 

We call on the international community, International financial institutions and donor countries such as the UK, Australia, USA, France and Canada, Japan (DfID, AusAID, USAid, CIDA, SIDA, NORAD, EU) to:

  • Ensure proper investigation of de facto military rule and access to justice in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh, ensuring that issues relating to the treatment of the indigenous people are brought into the mainstream and to bring strong diplomatic pressure to bear.
  • Encourage and support the Government of Bangladesh and Indigenous communities in the implementation of the 1997 CHT Peace Accords and de-militarisation of the CHT

We ask supporters to stand in solidarity with the Marma sisters, Rani Yan Yan and other human rights defenders as they fight for justice and to hold their abusers and the institutions they represent to account for their actions.

You can help by writing to your representative:

USA

http://congress.org/

UK/EU

https://www.writetothem.com/

Canada

http://4mycanada.ca/wp/?page_id=99

Australia

https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Guidelines_for_Contacting_Senators_and_Members

Further Reading and References:

[1] Rape of Marma sisters, In conversation with Rani Yan Yan; The Daily Star 2/2/18 http://www.thedailystar.net/star-weekend/human-rights/rape-marma-sisters-1528471

[2] Bangladesh: Assault on Chakma Rani Yan Yan: An Official statement from the Chakma Raj Office

http://iphrdefenders.net/bangladesh-assault-on-chakma-rani-yan-yan-an-official-statement-from-chakma-raj-office/

[3] Rights Groups accuse Bangladesh army of covering up sex assault, Al Jazeera, 28/2/18

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/bangladesh-minorities-bid-cover-army-sex-assault-180217110336276.html

[4] CHT incident, digital media and analogue government, New Age Bangladesh, 21/2/18

http://www.newagebd.net/print/article/35186

[5] Protest at DU against rape of Tripura girl, Daily Star 9/3/18

http://www.thedailystar.net/country/protest-at-dhaka-university-against-rape-of-tripura-girl-1545802

[6] Bangladesh: Uphold the Rule of Law and End Impunity for Security Forces, Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact statement 3/3/18

http://iphrdefenders.net/bangladesh-uphold-the-rule-of-law-and-end-the-impunity-of-security-forces/

[7] Indigenous women target of rape in land-related conflicts in Bangladesh, IWGIA, 8/3/18

https://www.iwgia.org/en/bangladesh/3235-indigenous-women-target-of-rape-in-land-related-conflicts-in-bangladesh

[8] Rape of Marma girl: Questions aplenty, Daily Star, 1/2/18

http://www.thedailystar.net/frontpage/rape-marma-girl-questions-aplenty-1528153

[9] Settle rule on Marma sisters in 6 weeks: SC, Daily Star, 22/2/18

http://www.thedailystar.net/country/settle-rule-rangamati-marma-sisters-rape-confinement-6-weeks-supreme-court-1538443

[10] UN: Stop Sexual abuse by Peacekeepers, Human Rights Watch, 4/3/16

https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/03/04/un-stop-sexual-abuse-peacekeepers

[11] Suffering of Jumma tribes continue 20 years after peace accord

https://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11873

[12] Human Rights Screening of UN Personnel, UN Policy 11/12/12

http://dag.un.org/bitstream/handle/11176/387395/Policy%20on%20Human%20Rights%20Screening%20of%20UN%20Personnel%20December%202012.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Protest against sexual assault and attack on indigenous women in Chittagong Hill Tracts

Where? In front of Bangladesh High Commission, London

When? 13:00 – 14:00, Thursday, 15th March 2018

 

The Jumma Peoples Network UK, in association with Survival International, is organising a peaceful demonstration outside the Bangladesh High Commission, 28 Queen’s Gate, Kensington, London SW7 5JA, at 1pm to 2pm on Thursday 15th March 2018, to protest against rape and sexual abuse of two Marma sisters by the Bangladesh security forces in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, a region in south-east Bangladesh. As well, the demo is being organised to condemn the violent assault on the Chakma Circle Adviser, Rani Yan Yan.

Although two decades had passed since the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord 1997 was signed, incidences of rape and sexual violence against Jumma women are increasingly evident in the region. The recent occurrences of rape and sexual abuse were committed as part of organised violence against Jumma women. Indigenous community representatives and local civil society organisations have reported that members of Bangladesh Army, who were deployed by the government of Bangladesh for security purposes, had first raped a 19-year old Marma woman, then assaulted her 14-year old sister in a village called, Orasori, in Rangamati – a sub-district at the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The two Marma sisters were raped and abused on 22 January, and both of the sisters were confined at the Rangamati Sadar Hospital since 24 January. They were subsequently taken out of the the hospital by force (against their will), and were handed over to their parents after three weeks, on 15 February. Amnesty International reported that the sisters are currently staying at an accommodation of a ruling party leader in a restricted environment, contrary to their request of shelter.

Instead of enquiring into the rape and sexual abuse of the two sisters, the Bangladeshi security forces had committed a violent physical attack on the Chakma Circle Adviser, Rani Yan Yan, and one of her volunteers on 15 February 2018, when they were visiting the ward where the two Marma sisters were kept. Most appalling is that an impartial investigation to prosecute the perpetrators is yet to begin and the survivor’s family has been subjected to intimidation by the army.

We call upon everyone to join the demo and to stand in solidarity with those fighting for justice for the Marma sisters in the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The protesters outside the Bangladesh High Commission in London will ask the Bangladesh government to ensure immediate safety and security of the two survivors of sexual violence, and to begin an impartial investigation into the violence against the Marma sisters. A joint memorandum by members of the Jumma Peoples Network UK, Survival International, Amnesty International, Campaign for Religious Minorities in Bangladesh and Secular Movement of Bangladesh, Community Women Against Abuse and other human rights activists will be submitted to the Bangladesh High Commission to be delivered to Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

We ask our supporters to join the demo this Thursday. Organisations and individuals are encouraged to bring along your own placards and organisational banners to show your support for the indigenous women in Bangladesh.

For further information, please contact:

Jumma Peoples Network UK

Phone: 07723059225 and 07931777262

Email: jpn_uk@hotmail.com

Web: www.jpnuk.org.uk


Leave a comment

A women’s revolution in Northern Syria fights for its life


 

Courtesy: Women’s Initiative for Peace in Afrin, UK

 

Help Build the Women’s Initiative for Peace in Afrin, DO something truly international on IWD2018

We call upon the women of Britain to join us in the Women’s Initiative for Peace in Afrin to be launched in Parliament on 6 March, Committee room 3, House of Commons at 7pm. Please leave 30 minutes to allow for security clearance.

Behind the frontlines in war-torn Syria, the region of Rojava has established, since July 2012, grassroots democratic structures based on the principles of radical democracy, ecology, and women’s liberation. Led by the political system of Democratic Confederalism, the people created communes, assemblies, academies, and cooperatives to organise their daily lives in a secular, multi-cultural, and gender egalitarian manner. An autonomous women’s movement has established women’s social, political, and economic structures to secure a radical transformation of a society shaped by male domination, patriarchy and violence against women. A wide-ranging legislative programme has banned harmful traditional practices such as polygamy, child marriage and forced marriage. The Social Contract of the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria (DFNS) makes the elimination of discrimination against women in all spheres of life a guiding principle. A women’s quota of 40% is enforced in all governance structures while the co-presidency principle ensures that every institution, from the federal administration to the small neighbourhood communes, is chaired equally by a woman and a man.

Despite its ground-breaking assault on patriarchal structures, Rojava gets very little coverage, perhaps because its commitment to true equality is threatening to Western capitalist powers. This is probably the best place in the Middle East to be a woman. Women’s struggles all over the world can take heart from this truly revolutionary society which has achieved so much so quickly.

This relatively peaceful and totally non-sectarian society is under threat from Turkey. On 20 January 2018, the Turkish army and affiliated jihadist gangs launched a war of aggression on Afrin, one of the cantons of DFNS. This cross-border invasion by the Turkish state, cynically labelled “Operation Olive Branch” is a violation of international law. Since the beginning of the operation, hundreds of civilians have been wounded and killed, dozens of homes, schools, and vital infrastructure have been destroyed in the airstrikes and ground invasion.

The War on Afrin is a War on Women. This revolution is your revolution.

We demand:

  • immediate end to the attacks on Afrin
  • end of arms trade with Turkey
  • humanitarian support for Afrin
  • independent investigation into war crimes in Afrin
  • establishment of a No Fly Zone for the protection of civilians
  • support for the democratic forces and peace efforts of the DFNS for a free, democratic Syria
  • support for the inclusion of the DFNS in the Geneva peace talks on Syria

Please RSVP via https://www.facebook.com/events/180906479191644/?notif_t=plan_user_joined&notif_id=1519912083507020

For further information on Women’s  revolution in Rojava, please read this article: https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/5160/the-rojava-experiment