20 February 2016, Dhaka: The International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission (CHTC) is deeply saddened by the death of Lord Eric Avebury at his London residence on 14 February 2016 after a long struggle with a terminal illness.

Eric Avebury, a Liberal Member of the British House of Lords and Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, served as one of the co-chairs of the CHTC from 2008. He was committed to working for the cause of bringing peace in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and visited the region several times. He spoke out publicly against human rights violations and land grabs in the CHT and promoted a peaceful solution to its continuing problems. Despite his deteriorating health, he remained closely and actively engaged with the CHT, sending pertinent communications to the Government of Bangladesh and raising issues with the British government and parliament and other pertinent fora.

As a co-chair of the Commission, Lord Avebury always made himself available for advice and discussion on issues relating to implementation of the Peace Accord in the CHT and stayed in touch with the organizations representing its peoples. Over and above his contribution to the CHTC, Lord Avebury expressed solidarity with numerous campaigns in support of the rights of indigenous peoples and various social groups subject to human rights violations in Bangladesh as well as many countries of the world.

We are deeply indebted to Eric Avebury for the contributions he made to the work of the CHT Commission in the effort to bring about a just and peaceful resolution of the problems of the region. Even though his absence leaves a gap that can never be filled, the Commission will endeavour to continue the work to which he had been so committed. At this moment of grief, our thoughts are with Eric’s wife Lindsay Avebury, his four children and his wider family and friends.

CHTC Co-chairs: Sultana Kamal, Elsa Stamatopoulou.

CHTC Members: Shapan Adnan, Lars Anders Baer, Tone Bleie, Hurst Hannum, Yasmeen Haque, Sara Hossain, Zafar Iqbal, Myrna Cunningham Kain, Khushi Kabir, Michael van Walt van Praag, Iftekharuzzaman.

CHTC Advisers: Jenneke Arens, Tom Eskildsen, Meghna Guhathakurta.

CHTC Secretariat