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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Indigenous People's Rights, Law demanded for protection

The Daily Star
Dhaka, Metropolitan, 2nd page
Sunday, September 2, 2012

Indigenous People's Rights

Law demanded for protection

Adivasi leaders and rights groups in a views exchange meeting in Rajshahi city yesterday urged the government to pass the proposed "Bangladesh Indigenous People's Rights Act" so that their rights can be well protected.

The parliamentary caucus on indigenous peoples' affairs has prepared the draft law and organised the meeting with supports from Oxfam, Research and Development Collective (RDC), and Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP) to draw recommendations from grassroots level to make the law effective.

The speakers proposed constituting a national commission and a separate ministry to protect indigenous people's rights to their ancestral land as a way of ensuring their social-economic and cultural well-being.

Eminent litterateur Hasan Azizul Haque attended the programme as chief guest while lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha, a member of the caucus, presided over the meeting at Rajshahi Chamber's of Commerce and Industries.

RDC General Secretary Prof Mesbah Kamal and JAP President Robindranath Soren attended as special guests. Indigenous leaders Anil Marandi, Noresh Orao, Romanath Mahato, Zakaria Mardi also spoke on the occasion.

They demanded inclusion of names of all tribes and ethnic groups and the issue of adivasi women's empowerment in the law to protect their rights. They also reiterated their demand for primary education in their mother tongues.

The speakers said the law would lay down the legal framework for eliminating indigenous people's poverty in order to mitigate their plight.

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