Ethnic minorities in Bangladesh observed the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples yesterday with a call for recognising them as indigenous people in the constitution.
Speakers at the programmes in different districts urged the government to ensure their education, health, land and social rights.
This year the theme of the Day is “Indigenous Peoples' Right to Education.”
Our Rangamati correspondent reports that ethnic communities in the district observed the Day with a rally in the municipality area in Rangamati town.
Ranjan Chakma, president of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum, CHT chapter, was in the chair. Ushatan Talukdar, member of parliament, Raja Debasish Roy, Chakma circle chief, Rangamati, and Arun Chakma, chairman of Sadar upazila parishad, among others, addressed the rally.
The speakers said the ethnic groups in Bangladesh have their own culture, language and tradition to fulfill all the criteria, as per the ILO convention, to be regarded as indigenous people.
“Today, we are still being deprived of our fundamental rights regarding land, culture, education and language. In Rangamati Sadar upazila, there are many places where there are no educational institutions. So, many indigenous children are still deprived of the right to education,” said Chairman of Sadar upazila Arun Chakma.
“The government did not consult with the people of the area before proposing to build a medical college and a university of technology, which is a violation of the human rights of the people,” Raja Debasih Roy said.
Indigenous people in Bandarban observed the Day with the demand for ensuring their constitutional recognition as well as education, health, social and land rights, reports our Bandarban correspondent.
Colourful processions, cultural programmes and discussions were held on the occasion.
People of different communities including Marma, Chakma, Tripura, Tongchyanga, Khyang, Bawm, Mro, Lusai, Khumi and Chak celebrated the Day with festivities and programmes.
Speakers at a rally in the town urged the government to protect the culture and heritage of the indigenous people.
Indigenous people observed the Day in Mymensingh with different programmes yesterday, our Mymensingh correspondent reports.
A colourful rally, participated by around 2,000 indigenous people of different groups from Mymensingh region, was brought out in the town.
Wearing traditional dresses, they joined the rally carrying festoons, placards and banners.
The demand of indigenous people for a separate land commission and ministry for plain land indigenous people should be met to settle land related disputes, speakers at the rally said.
Later, they also submitted a memorandum containing 10-point demand to the deputy commissioner of Mymensingh.
The Day was also celebrated in Thakurgaon town yesterday with cultural programmes and discussions, reports our Thakurgaon correspondent.
Speakers at a discussion urged the government to save the indigenous people from land grabbers. They also demanded allocation of khas land among the landless indigenous people.