Accepted paper:

Development, displacement and human security: the case of Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh


Zannat Ferdousi (Research and Development Collective (RDC))
Mesbah Kamal (University of Dhaka)

Paper short abstract:

"Development" in the form of a hydro-electricity project in CHT region displaced substantial indigenous population and subsequent non-recognition in constitution and demographic transfers drastically deteriorated their human security situation posing a challenge to development strategists on the way forward.

Paper long abstract:

In early 1960s, "development" in the form of hydro-electricity project had adversely affected the indigenous peoples in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region of Bangladesh displacing more than 100,000 of them and subsequent non-recognition in the constitution of 1972, coupled with massive demographic transfers of mainstream Bengalis from the plane-land to the hilly tracts between 1978 and 1986, marginalized them to the extent that their human security situation has drastically deteriorated. Forced by encroaching new Bengali settlers, another 100,000 members of the indigenous communities migrated to neighbouring India as refugees and another 450,000 became internally displaced. Refugees returned with signing of Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord 1997 but complexities grew with the partial implementation of the Accord and the failure of the government to legislate the CHT Land Dispute Resolution (Amendment) Act 2013. In fact, the indigenous peoples of the CHT are in an impoverished state now and the complexities generated by the mono-cultural policies of all governments since independence poses a serious challenge to development strategists including anthropologists on the way forward.

panel P102
Development, disadvantaged people and human security: the emerging problems and contribution of anthropology in resolving the challenges (Commission on Human Rights)