The CHT Commission, with logistic support from the Association from Land Reform and Development (ALRD) has just concluded conducting a journalists’ workshop titled “Reporting on CHT and Indigenous Peoples” from 27-29 April, 2011. Journalists from both Dhaka and the three Chittagong Hill Districts participated in this workshop, the objectives of which were the following:

However from 28 April National Security Intelligence (NSI) officials attempted to intimidate the Secretariat of the CHT Commission first by asking to send an official to be present throughout at the workshop, then by stationing an official outside the workshop venue for its duration. The NSI official who was stationed outside the workshop questioned several staff at the venue about the nature of the workshop and the participants, and claimed that there was ‘a matter of national security’ involved given the presence of participants from the Chittagong Hill Tracts at the workshop.

One of the lecturers, journalist Saleem Samad, was also questioned on the phone several times by members of the NSI about the nature of the workshop.

The CHT Commission considers these acts as attempts at intimidation and harassment by intelligence officials. The CHT Commission calls on the Bangladesh government to:

On behalf of the CHT Commission

Eric Avebury                                                     Sultana Kamal                                               Ida Nicolaisen

Co-chair of the  CHT Commission            Co-chair of the CHT Commission            Co-chair of the CHT Commission