Incidents of attacks on indigenous people and grabbing their properties have increased in recent years as the successive governments had not cared much to ensure the rights of the communities living in the hills and plain land of the country, speakers said in a seminar yesterday.
The seminar was organised by the Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous People in Begum Sufia Kamal Auditorium of the National Museum in capital and was chaired by lawmaker Fazle Hossain Badsha.
Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma alias Santu Larma, who was the guest of honour, said political parties promise to ensure the rights of indigenous people before the elections but they forget about those promises soon after assuming power.
Due to negligence of successive governments, now the existence of indigenous people living in Chittagong Hill Tracts and in the plain lands has become vulnerable, he added.
Presenting the keynote speech titled "Bridging the Gap:
Implementing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples", Goutam Kumar Chakma, member of the technical committee of the parliamentary caucus, said Bangladesh is among those countries which did not recognise indigenous people in their constitution but still is in process to implement their rights.
He mentioned some recommendations which include constitutional recognition of the communities and cancellation of government notification that prohibited the use of the term "advasi", formation of two effective land dispute resolution commissions for the indigenous people, and ensuring rights to own culture and language.
Prof Mesbah Kamal and Sanjeeb Drong, an expert member and a member respectively of the technical committee, Mrinal Kanti Das, and lawmakers Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Kazi Rozi, Hazera Sultana, and AKM Fazlul Haq also spoke.