Ethnic minority youth leaders will act as change agent to protect Human Rights

Nov 16, 2016

Workshop on Ethnic Minority Rights and Leadership Development organized by NHRC and Human Rights Programme (HRP).

The Ethnic youth of Bangladesh agreed in one voice that they require more advocacy forums to promote minority rights in Bangladesh. Youth participants in the Training Workshop advocated the need for better networking, frequent dialogues and discussion forums will help boost minority rights.

Human Rights Programme (HRP) of UNDP in collaboration with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) organized a two-day long training on “Ethnic Minority Rights and Leadership Development” for Ethnic Minority Youth leaders from  15-16 November 2016 at NGO Forum Conference  room, Dhaka.

The core purpose of the training programme was to enhance knowledge and leadership capacity of the ethnic minority youth leaders in Bangladesh. This two-day long workshop also aimed to provide advance level of knowledge, leadership skills and information on Human Rights and Leadership issues to ethnic community youth leaders. The training was able to  define some priority areas of initiatives to be taken further in partnership with UNDP, NHRC and the ethnic community youth leaders. Total 23 youth leaders from across the country took part in the training as representatives of individual ethnic minority community.

Participants of the  workshop on Ethnic Minority Rights and Leadership Development.

The inaugural session of the training programme was graced by Ms. Nurun Naher Osmani, Honorary Member of NHRC. Ms. Taslima Islam, Programme Coordinator, HRP welcomed the participants and shared the objectives of the training. Ms. Sharmeela Rasool, Chief Technical Advisor of the Human Rights Programme delivered an inspirational speech highlighting the Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh as well as some other international instruments.

The key topics covered through training session are as below-

  1. Concept of Human Rights and Human Rights Standards
  2. Complaints Mechanisms of the National Human Rights Commission Promotion and Protection of Ethnic Minority Rights: Standards and Realities
  3. Gender: Concept of Equity and Equality, Gender approaches and Gender Responsive actions of the Youth Leaders
  4. Ethnic Minority Rights situation in Bangladesh: Challenges and Way forward actions of the Youth Leaders
  5. Ethnic Minority Rights situation in Bangladesh: Challenges and Way forward actions of the Youth Leaders in addressing Rights and Accessibility of Ethnic Communities

Ms. Meghna Guhathakurta, Honorary Member, NHRC; Zahid Hossain, National Human Rights Officer, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR); Mr. Sanjeeb Drong, General Secretary, Bangladesh Adivashi Forum, Shankor Paul, Communities and Minorities Expert; HRP; Bithika Hasan, Gender Expert, Human Rights Programme, UNDP conducted different sessions of the training.

Ms. Mahmuda Afroz, Team Leader of the Democratic Governance Cluster, UNDP in her closing remarks encouraged the ethnic youth leaders to be the spokesmen for their community and  raise their voice at the policy level.

The ethnic community represents 1.1% of the total Bangladesh Population. This segment comprises of a several ethnic groups, while Bangladesh government recognizes 27 ethnic groups with t other sources indicating approximately 75 ethnic groups. It is fact that most of the ethnic groups, particularly who lives in plain land areas are living with diverse problems related to their rights. (Source: Cultural Institution for Small Anthropological Groups Act: 2010).

Considering this reality, Human Rights Programme of UNDP jointly with the NHRC has given particular focus on plain land ethnic minority communities to better promote and protect their rights as they are one of the most vulnerable groups in Bangladesh. As part of this focus, the programme supports to define a numbers of youth leaders from the ethnic minority communities to strengthen their knowledge and leadership capacity so that they are enabled to advocate for their human rights. It is expected that with the use of skills and knowledge, the youth leaders will act as change agent of their own community.

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