Bringing indigenous people and Dalits into mainstream development is a must for sustainable development in Bangladesh, said speakers at a national seminar yesterday.
Indigenous people's immense contribution in economic development can be multiplied with increased government assistance, said columnist Syed Abul Maksud, adding that the nation cannot achieve progress keeping them in neglect.
The seminar on “Sustainable Development and Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh” was organised by Research and Development Collective (RDC) with the assistance of Christian Aid in the capital's Bangladesh National Museum.
“There are more than 37 crore indigenous people in the world who have rich cultures and traditions but in the modern world they are facing different types of suppression and human rights violations,” said Sanjeeb Drong, general secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum.
“They remain out of the process of the state's formation and growth,” he said in his keynote speech.
Indigenous people want the right to develop their living status and to self-control, forests, land, natural resources and regions in the post-2015 development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, said Sanjeeb.
Indigenous people demand redefining the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) as they believe nothing about them was said in it, and specially want to contribute to the post-2015 development agenda, he said. The MDG processes must reflect their rights taking their vulnerabilities and strengths into consideration, said the speakers.
RDC Chairperson Prof Mesbah Kamal chaired the seminar where lawmakers AKM Fazlul Haque, and Shirin Akhter also spoke.