Indigenous people have been enduring forced displacement from their ancestral land across the country, and in Chittagong Hill Tracts the situation is particularly worrisome with little progress in implementing the CHT Peace Accord, signed 20 years ago, Bangladesh Adivasi Forum said.
“We call on indigenous people to continue resisting forced migration,” said the Forum in a press release yesterday ahead of International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples (August 9). The theme of the day this year is “Indigenous peoples' migration and movement”.
Indigenous people are being deprived of basic human rights. Abduction, torture, rape, and murder of indigenous women have alarmingly gone up in recent times. Against this backdrop, according to Kapaeeng Foundation, 500 indigenous people migrated to Myanmar from Bandarban due to prevailing insecurity there.
Since 1947, indigenous people were forced to leave their homeland on several occasions. Forty-seven years have passed since independence but they are still being repressed politically, economically and are facing violence, said the release.
Under state patronisation, more than 5 lakh Bangalee settlers have been rehabilitated in the CHT so that the indigenous community living there becomes a minority; the conspiracy is on, said the statement.
“They [indigenous people] are so neglected by the state that the stories of their displacement remain unheard,” said Adivasi Forum President Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma while reading out the statement during a press conference at a city hotel.
At yesterday's event, the Forum demanded enactment of “Adivasi Rights Protection Act”, an end to forced migration, allocation of separate budget, drawing up a plan of action and roadmap to implement the CHT Accord, and investigation into human rights violations.
Sanjeeb Drong, general secretary of the Forum, said the government does not recognise the existence of indigenous people in the country, which is why the international day is yet to see state recognition.