United People’s Democratic Front (UPDF)
Established: 26 December 1998
Article 01: title
The name of the Party, which was founded on 26 December 1998, shall be United People’s Democratic Front. It can be abbreviated as UPDF.
Article 02: aim and objective
The aim and objective of the Party is to establish a genuine democratic society free from oppression and exploitation through the attainment of FULL AUTONOMY, the just right of the people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, by peaceful and democratic means.
Article 03: flag
Divided into three equal parts on vertical lines with the upper and bottom parts red and the middle one blue emblazoned with a white star in the middle.
- Red: signifies resistance against oppression and exploitation;
- Blue: signifies the joint current of the principal rivers of Chittagong Hill Tracts – Borgang (Karnaphuli), Chengi, Mainee, Kachalong, Feni, Shankha and Matamuhuri; and also the unity, solidarity and progress of the people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts;
- White star: symbolizes the hopes and aspirations of the people of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Article 04: Monogram
The monogram of the Party shall be bow and arrow. It shall also be used as election symbol of the Party.
Article 05: Party membership
- Any permanent resident of the Chittagong Hill Tracts who is 16 years of age or above, is willing to pay the fees as prescribed by the Party, has accepted the Party programmes, has pledged to abide by the Party constitution, ideology and discipline, is committed to carry out the duties and responsibilities to be assigned by the Party and is not a member of any other political party may apply for membership of the Party.
- New members shall be admitted on the basis of recommendations by at least two Party members on application in a prescribed form.
- All Party committees – from unit to the centre – shall have the right to admit new members.
- The application form must be forwarded to the Central Admission Commission within one month of receiving it. On matters related to admission the decision of the Commission shall be deemed final. An applicant whose application is found in order shall first be admitted as a candidate member and shall be put on probation for a period of one year.
- In case of enrolment of any high ranking official from any other party who has applied for admission, endorsement from the central committee shall be required. However, in special circumstances the central committee shall have the right to directly admit him as a full member.
- A member once expelled from the Party can be readmitted provided the Party committee which had approved the expulsion has consented to his / her readmission.
- Candidate members shall have the same rights and responsibilities as the full members have, save and except the right to elect or to be elected and the right of voting.
- The committee, if satisfied with the work of a candidate member at the end of one year probation period, shall grant him / her full membership. However, if not satisfied, the committee shall cancel his membership and report the matter to the central committee.
Article 06: Rules to be observed by Party members
- The Party members are the most advanced section of the people. They must put the interest of the people and the Party above their personal interest.
- Each and every Party member must show due respect to the women and must never behave disrespectfully with them.
- Party members must always behave respectfully with the people and be ready to help them to their best ability.
- Every Party member must show respect to the personal religious beliefs of the people and must not involve in debate with the people over religious matters.
Article 07: Membership records
All the district committees shall preserve the membership records.
Article 08: Check-up of membership
- There shall be annual check up of membership by every Party unit. If any Party member abstains from participating in Party activities for a long period of time at a stretch without reasonable cause, his or her membership may be cancelled. The Party units shall send the check-up report to the central committee and a duplicate copy of it to its immediate higher unit.
- Any Party member whose membership has been thus terminated shall have the right to appeal to the central committee against the decision.
- Any Party member willing to resign shall submit his or her resignation letter to the Party unit to which he or she belongs. The said Party unit shall, on receiving his or her resignation letter, drop his or her name from the membership register and submit a report to the higher unit on the matter.
- If any Party member willing to resign is found to have violated Party discipline, the Party unit shall not accept his or her resignation letter and instead directly expel him or her from the Party. However, the decision to expel must be reported to the higher unit. The expulsion order of the said Party member shall take effect only after the endorsement by the higher unit.
Article 09: Duties of the Party member
- To participate in Party activities and to work loyally and with devotion to implement the Party decisions, policies and programmes;
- To study high quality political literatures and to endevour to achieve high political and ideological standard;
- To be humble and gentle while dealing with the people and carry out rigorous struggle against the enemy of the people; to harbour deep love and sympathy for the most backward and downtrodden section of the society and to work for their overall development;
- To abide by Party discipline and constitution; to behave in a comradely way with every fellow party member;
- To mingle with the people and carry out Party programmes earnestly and consistently; to report about people’s perception and criticism about the Party and its leadership; to put the interest of the Party and the people above personal interest;
- Not to conceal personal political opinion from the Party; not to discuss Party’s internal matters outside the Party forum; to develop the habit of criticism and self-criticism; to confess without hesitation if any mistake is committed and to be sincere in correcting mistakes;
- To maintain unity and solidarity of the Party and not to betray the Party; to safeguard the Party from all kinds of danger;
- To assist other Party members in performing their duties; and to show respect to other Party member’s rights.
Article 10: Rights of the Party members
- The Party members shall have the following rights:
- to contest for election to the Party committees or to vote for any other members to elect them to such committees or to refrain from voting;
- to read Party documents;
- to give personal opinions, make proposals, take part in discussions and to debate Party policies, strategies, decisions and programmes in Party forums;
- to report to the higher committees of the Party;
- to make constructive criticism about any Party member or high ranking leader in the Party forums.
- The Party committees shall be obliged to ensure and enforce these rights of the Party members.
Article 11: Party discipline
- Every Party member shall maintain discipline within the Party because without Party discipline the strength, image and fighting spirit of the Party cannot be intensified and the Party cannot lead the people in the movement.
- Discipline in the Party shall be established on the basis of free will and through the acceptance of the ideology, policies and programmes of the Party.
- If any member of the Party violates the constitution and decision of the Party, he / she shall be liable for breach of discipline and be subject to disciplinary action as per the constitution.
- Disciplinary actions shall be as follows:
- Public censure
- Removal from responsibilities of the Party
- Suspension from the Party membership for a period not exceeding one year
- Before taking any disciplinary action, the policy of persuasion shall be applied as much as possible: that is, the violator of Party discipline shall be requested to correct his mistakes. However, the same policy shall be applied even after taking disciplinary action. If there is reasonable possibility of the Party being seriously harmed as a result of breach of Party discipline, then the Party shall take prompt and immediate disciplinary action.
- For taking disciplinary action against any member of the Party evidences in support of the allegations made against him must be presented. The Party member against whom allegations have been made shall have the right to be heard in person.
- Disciplinary action shall be taken against any Party member only after the allegation brought against him / her is proved. However, if the allegations are of serious nature such as financial embezzlement, activities harmful to the cause of the struggle and the national interest, and social scandal, then the Party member against whom such allegations have been made may be temporarily removed from his / her responsibilities pending a final decision on the matter.
- An appeal may be made to the higher committee against any disciplinary action.
- In special and urgent circumstances, the central committee shall have the right to expel any member of the Party for serious breach of discipline without going through the lengthy process of taking disciplinary action.
Article 12: If elected to the public representative bodies
- If any member of the Party, with the express consent of the central committee, is elected to public representative bodies including the National Parliament to further the interest of the Party and the struggle, he / she shall act in accordance with the decision, guideline and directives of the Party. He / she shall work unselfishly in the representative bodies for the cause of the people.
- The Party member thus elected shall deposit to the Party funds all the remuneration / allowances he / she gets as an elected member of the said representative bodies. It is the Party committee which shall determine the allowances for him / her.
- The Party members elected to any public representative bodies shall maintain day to day contact with the Party committees and take part in Party activities.
- If the Party committee is of the view that people’s interest can no longer be safeguarded by participating in the said representative bodies and that resignation from the said representative body is the right decision, then the said Party member shall resign from the representative body to which he / she has been elected.
- If more than one member of the Party is elected to the public representative bodies, they shall form “UPDF Public Representative Guild” among themselves.
Article 13: Representatives abroad / Expatriate Committees
a. Expatriates may form branch committees in any foreign country provided they have agreed to comply with the constitution, aim and objective, programmes and the principles of the Party; the central committee shall have the right to endorse such a committee.
b. In addition to the above, the central committee shall have further right to appoint any person or persons residing in any foreign country as spokesperson or representative of the Party.
c. The spokespersons or representatives thus appointed shall perform their activities under the guidance of the central committee and in accordance with the situation of the country they are residing.
Article 14: Structure
- The supreme organisation of the Party is National Congress, which shall be convened in every three years. However, in special circumstances it may be postponed.
- Extraordinary congress of the Party may be convened if the central committee so desires or if at least one-third of the members of the Party make a request in writing to do so.
- The central committee shall determine the venue, date and time and the number of delegates of the congress.
- Representatives elected by branch committees shall participate in the congress. However, the central committee shall have the right to finalise the list of the delegates and observers.
- The functions of the congress shall be:
- to submit political and organisational reports and adopt them after deliberations;
- to revise the constitution, manifesto, programme and demands of the Party, if necessary;
- to determine the Party line and tactics in the current situation;
- to elect a new central committee.
Article 15: Central committee
- The central committee elected by the congress shall function as the supreme organisation of the Party until the next congress. The meeting of the central committee shall be convened at least twice a year;
- The number of the central committee members (including alternate members) shall be fixed by the congress;
- The central committee shall enforce the constitution of the Party and implement the programmes and decisions of the Party;
- The central committee shall have the right to take any decision as per the constitution in the interest of the Party. However, the central committee shall be responsible for its activities to the congress;
- The central committee members shall elect the Chairman and the General Secretary from among themselves;
- The Party Chairman shall, after consultation with the General Secretary, constitute an executive committee or secretariat with such number of the central committee members as would be deemed necessary under the objective situation; the functions of the secretariat members shall be to head the various departments of the Party;
- Any central committee member may be discharged from his / her responsibilities by a two-thirds majority of the central committee members if any allegation of serious breach of Party discipline, anti-Party activities and immoral conduct against him / her is proved.
- In the event of any vacancy occurring as a result of expulsion under article 15(g), the central committee shall fill it up by co-opting someone from the alternate members after according him / her full membership status.
- In the event of arrest of any member of the central committee, the other members of the central committee shall co-opt from the alternate members. However, the arrested member shall be reinstated in his / her position after his / her release from jail.
Article 16: Procedure for electing central committee
- The outgoing central committee shall present a panel of the members of the new central committee before the delegates at the congress;
- Any delegate may raise objection against any of the panel members as presented or may propose new names. However, before a new name is proposed, consent of the person whose name is being proposed must be obtained;
- Any panel member shall have the right to take out his / her name from the list.
- If no new name is proposed, the delegates shall endorse by voice vote the panel of the new central committee proposed by the outgoing central committee;
- If new names are proposed in the house, then these new names shall be added to the panel names as proposed by the outgoing central committee. The delegates shall elect the new central committee members from these names through secret ballots.
Article 17: Local committees
- The Party shall have units at district, Upazila (sub-district) / Thana, Union / Ward and Pourashobha (municipal) levels. The district committee shall be composed of 17 members, Thana committee 11 members, Union and Ward committee 7 members and Municipal committee 9 members;
- The members of the unit committees shall be elected by the local Party members. The tenure of the unit committees shall be 3 years;
- The higher committees shall have the right to transfer, in the interest of the Party, any Party member working at a lower committee to another unit or at a new place where there is no Party unit and bestow new responsibilities on him / her. This authority shall go to the extent that even if a Party unit has elected president and general secretary, another Party member may be deputed to this unit as a representative of the higher committee. In such a case, the function of the representative of the higher committee shall be to oversee the implementation of the Party programmes and decisions and assist in the implementation of, and coordinate, the various activities of the lower committee;
- If the post of any unit committee falls vacant as a result of transfer under Article 17(c), the vacancy shall be filled up by a decision of two-thirds members of the said unit. However the decision must be approved by the higher committee.
Article 18: Party funds
Party funds shall be raised from the following sources:
- Membership fees
- Allowances that Party members receive if elected to public representative bodies;
- Proceeds from the sale of Party literature, books and bulletins;
- Income from cultural activities and various shows and exhibitions;
- Contribution from individual sympathizers; and
- Public donation.
Article 19: Front organisations of the Party
- There shall be mass organisations of the Party among different classes and professional groups including students, youths, women, teachers, workers, peasants and lawyers. These organisations shall be directed by the Party leadership and the function of the Party members working in these organisations shall be to bring about unity among the masses of various classes and professions, strengthen mass base and lift up the fighting spirit of the people;
- Full membership of the Party shall be granted to the advanced elements of the front organisations including the Hill Women Federation, Hill Student’s Council and Democratic Youth Forum.
Article 20: Enacting By-laws
To strengthen Party discipline and intensify activities, the central committee shall have the right to enact by-laws or rules and regulations in consistent with the Party constitution.
Article 21: Amendments
The constitution may be amended by a two-thirds majority of the delegates at the congress.
[Presented at the first national congress held in Dhaka from 26 – 28 November 2006 and approved after necessary amendments]