The Financial Express

Amnesty urges govt to stop hotel construction posing eviction threat to Mro people

| Updated: November 22, 2020 23:15:37

Representational image — Collected Representational image — Collected

Amnesty International has called on Bangladesh’s government to immediately stop the construction of a five-star hotel in Chittagong Hill Tracts, saying it could lead to the forced eviction of Mro ethnic people from their ancestral lands.

The rights body made the call in a letter to Bangladesh's CHT Affairs Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing on Sunday.

The construction of the five-star hotel in the hill tracts could wipe out villages, and destroy the social, economic, traditional and cultural fabric of the community, according to the letter.

Amnesty urged the Bangladeshi government to protect and develop the lives and livelihood of the ethnic people in line with the country’s commitment in its constitution and international human rights law.

“Members of the Mro and other Indigenous communities are also afraid that the construction of the hotel will damage sacred sites, forests, water resources and biodiversity in the region,” it said in the letter.

Ethnic community members were quoted by the rights body as saying that the hotel and associated projects may ultimately lead to the direct and indirect taking away of at least 800 acres of their land in violation of the customary laws of the community.

The construction of the luxury hotel also contravenes Bangladesh’s commitment to protect the “institutions, persons, property and labour of these populations” under the ILO Indigenous and Tribal Populations Convention, 1957, Amnesty notes.

For weeks, ethnic groups have been protesting against the hotel construction on their land which they fear will ruin their land, biodiversity and livelihood.

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