Speakers call for accelerating passage of indigenous rights law

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A high-level policy dialogue took place at Bangabandhu International Convention Centre in Dhaka on August 7 focused on lands rights and constitutional recognition of Adivasis in Bangladesh.

United Nations Development Programme’s Human Rights Programme provided financial and technical support to the programme organised by Research and Development Collective to mark the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, themed “Indigenous Peoples’ Migration and Movement”.

The key focus of the discussion was on implementation of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (BIPRA) and RDC Chairperson Prof. Mesbah Kamal gave the key note highlighting various features of the draft law.

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Ushatan Talukder MP inaugurated the event. R.A.M. Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury MP, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury MP, Nazmul Haque Pradhan MP, Hazera Sultana MP, Poet Quazi Rosy MP and Sharmeela Rassool, Chief Technical Advisor of the HRP, UNDP spoke as special guests on the law’s importance.

Sanjeeb Drong General Secretary, Bangladesh Adivashi Forum, Dibarmin Patim, Headman, Nahar Khasi Punji, Namita Chakma, Vice President, National Coalition for Indigenous Peoples and Taslima Islam, National Programme Coordinator, HRP-UNDP also took part in the discussion.

The speakers urged the parliament to move the draft forward. Fazle Hossain Badshah, MP, Convener of Indigenous Parliamentary Caucus presided over the dialogue. Around 180 representatives from different indigenous groups were present.

Traditional indigenous songs and dances were performed at the inauguration of the event. Posters and visibility items with slogans calling for the rights of the indigenous people in Bangladesh adorned the venue.

The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed every year with the aim to promote and protect the rights of the indigenous peoples.

An estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, live across 90 countries. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world's estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.

Despite their cultural differences, indigenous peoples from around the world share common problems related to the protection of their rights as distinct peoples.

By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, by the United Nations General Assembly the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed on 9 August every year.

The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

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