Indigenous people’s human rights most at risk during the Corona period: Kapaeeng

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Hill Voice, 1 September 2020, Rangamati: The report stated today by the Kapaeeng Foundation on various human rights violations against Hill and Plain land indigenous peoples throughout the month of August.

The report says, in the wake of the Corona epidemic, organized attacks on indigenous peoples for the purpose of land eviction and land eviction continue unabated. In August, land grabbers cut down at least 1,000 different species of trees, including two betel nut trees in Moulvibazar and Sylhet. As a result of the housing project in the Catholic Christian Dharshapalli of Rajshahi district, 130 tribal families have been evicted. In Cox’s Bazar, in defiance of a court order, a shop has been set up to occupy the land of the indigenous Rakhine community. On the other hand, the agricultural lands of the tribals have been severely damaged due to the hilly movements coming from India on the border in Sunamganj.

The report says human rights in the CHT, In August, a settler occupied a tribal land in Barkal in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and built a house. Security forces arrested six people and detained 21 others. In addition, 9 people were beaten, Harassment and interrogation have taken place and 18 houses including 2 shops have been searched and vandalized. The ruling party and the security forces have obstructed the distribution of rice due to the UNDP. Members of the security forces also vandalized two markets set up temporarily in Chengi Union and Logang Union in Panchari due to the outbreak of the corona virus. On 23 August, a Marma named Bimung Marma was killed by Arsa at Naikhyangchhari in Bandarban. The report also highlighted the obstruction by the security forces at a human chain organized at Kaptai in Rangamati on the occasion of Indigenous Day.

This report stated that Violence against indigenous women and children, including indigenous peoples escalated during the Corona in August. This month, 15 Indigenous women, including two men, have been subjected to sexual violence, rape and attempted rape, beatings and assaults on Indigenous women. Among them, 1 woman was raped and 3 women were raped, two women were raped and evicted, one was trapped in a marriage trap and one was missing and six women, including two men, were beaten. Besides, Rs 2 lakh has been snatched from a tribal college student who was raped. Besides, 3 people including a woman were attacked in Madhupur of Tangail and Jhenaigazi of Sherpur.

The monthly report citing the Indigenous People’s Development Services (IPDS), said that Covid-19 had pushed 62% of indigenous peoples into extreme poverty. Indigenous income earning in the plains decreased by 92%. Due to the Corona epidemic, various institutions have been shut down and privately owned jobs and jobs have been lost, leaving at least 500,000 indigenous people as “new poor” people.