The Human Rights Forum in Bangladesh organized a sharing session on UPR findings with foreign diplomats with around 25 representatives from different Foreign Missions, International Organizations, and human rights organizations including Kapaeeng Foundation and Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum gathered in Baridhara on Wednesday 12 February 2013. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Forum submitted their stakeholders report under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the UN Human Rights Council. Again, the UPR on Bangladesh is going to be held on April 2013 in Geneva.
Sultana Kamal, the convenor of the Forum and the Executive Director of Ain o Salish Kendra, the Secretariat for the human rights forum Bangladesh moderated the meeting. Sara Hossain, Honorary Director of Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST); Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh; Zakir Hossain, Chief Executive of Nagorik Udyog; Ayesha Khanom, President of Mahila Parishad attended in the sharing meeting.
Sara Hossain presented the key concern of the UPR in Bangladesh analyzing positive and negative trends based on Economic Social & Cultural Rights; Civil & Political Rights; Freedom of Association, Assembly & Expression; Women’s Rights; Rights of HRDs; Child Rights; Workers’ Rights; Rights of Indigenous People, Minorities & Other Vulnerable Groups; Rights of Religious Minorities; Rights of Persons With Disabilities; Rights of Gender & Sexual Minorities; Rights of Dalits; Rights of Linguistic Minorities; Conformity with International Human Rights Standards. Overall, the presentation shows there are enormous negative trends have been existing significantly while having fewer positive trends across the country.
The issues of indigenous people’s right as well as CHT Accord Implementation have been raised by Delegates in the forum. Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh informed that GoB is yet to ensure constitutional recognition to indigenous peoples, on the contrary, government declared that indigenous peoples do not exist in the country; constitutional amendment declaring all citizens as Bengalis, undermining basic rights of people of non-Bengali identities. Moreover, human rights violations in CHT has been continuing including killings, torture, religious persecution, sexual violence against indigenous women and children and land dispossession. These incidents are happening due to slow progress in implementation of CHT Accord.
The following recommendations are drawn primarily from the findings of the Study to improve CHT situation:
Give constitutional recognition to the identity and integrity of indigenous peoples. Abandon politics of “non-existence of indigenous peoples” and amend the Constitution to recognize non-Bengali / diverse ethnic identities;
Establish a Land Commission for plains indigenous peoples, and activate CHT Land Commission by amending contradictory provision of the its Act and make it effective to address indigenous peoples’ land rights, appoint a credible chairman of the CHT Land Commission;
Conduct impartial enquiries into all indigenous peoples’ rights including indigenous women right violations and ensure perpetrators are brought to justice.
Ms. Bipasha Chakma of Kapaeeng Foundation and Sanjeeb Drong of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum also spoke on CHT Accord and indigenous issues in the meeting. Sultana Kamal expressed about page limitation in this report, as consequences, some emerging issues could not be written details. It is noteworthy that some participants including delegates realized there should be another short sharing session especially on indigenous people’s rights to bring attention to GoB.
Source: Kapaeeng Foundation
Web Source: http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com