Internal Displacement: Global Overview of Trends and Developments in 2010 - Bangladesh

Quick facts
Number of IDPsUndetermined
Percentage of total populationUndetermined
Start of current displacement situation1973
Peak number of IDPs (Year)500,000 (2001)
New displacementAt least 3,500
Causes of displacementGeneralised violence, human rights violations
Human development index129

Clashes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) displaced thousands of people during 2010, despite government pledges to resolve the long-running conflict there. The government's relocation of Bengali settlers to CHT led to conflict between indigenous Jumma militias and army-backed settlers from 1977 to 1997, and wide-spread forced evictions and other human rights violations. At least 90,000 Jumma families and 38,000 settler families were displaced as of 2000. The settlers fled to areas around army camps for safety and assistance, while indigenous people were displaced to more remote areas or into the forests, where they had little access to food and basic services such as health care and schools.

The conflict formally ended with a 1997 agreement which acknowledged CHT as a "tribal inhabited" region, and envisaged the army's withdrawal and an end to settlement. Indigenous refugees and IDPs were to be registered and entitled to assistance while land disputes were resolved. But the settlement of Bengalis continued, and some 10,000 repatriated Jumma refugees were forced into secondary displacement.

In 2009 the new government committed to implement the peace accord and provide assistance and reparation to IDPs. It withdrew the army from 35 of the 300 bases in CHT and announced measures to resolve land disputes. However, new clashes triggered more displacement in 2010, and several indigenous villages were reportedly burned down in February and March. ICRC provided emergency assistance to 3,500 people who were forced to flee when their homes were destroyed.

Meanwhile, across Bangladesh, up to 1.2 million Hindu families have been dispossessed of their land, with some internally displaced and others fleeing the country. The 1974 Vested Property Act by which the government could confiscate property from any "enemy of the state" was repealed in 2001, but the land grabbing has continued, and the government has not taken measures to restitute land or compensate those affected.


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