Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh Face Displacement: says IPDFF Representative at EMRIP

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Hill Voice, 19 July 2023, International Desk: At the 3rd day meeting of the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) in Geneva representative of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Development Facilitators Forum (IPDFF) Mithun Kumar Urao said that climate change, loss of livelihood, food insecurity, poverty in Bangladesh through massive inappropriate and exploitative ‘development’ causing environmental degradation. Indigenous peoples are increasingly being displaced from their ancestral traditional lands, causing disease and ill health.

Mithun Kumar Urao, while presenting his speech, also highlighted the demand for the full implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts along with the formation of a separate land commission for the tribals of the plains.

Yesterday, July 18, 2023, at the 3rd day meeting of the 16th session of Emrip held in Geneva, the representative of IPDFF, a non-governmental development organization of the indigenous people of Bangladesh, said these things while presenting a statement on Agenda Item 5: Interactive Dialogue with the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development.

The 16th session of the United Nations EMRIP started on July 17 and will continue until July 21. The full text of the statement of Mithun Kumar Orao is given below-

UNITED NATIONS EXPERT MECHANISM ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Item 5: Interactive dialogue with members of the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development, Tuesday 18 July 2023,

Statement By Mithun Kumar Urao, Indigenous Peoples Development Facilitators Forum (IPDFF) Email: mithuntoppo@gmail.com

Thank you madame chair. I am Mithun Kumar Urao, one of the grantees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples for opportunity.

We do so to provide EMRIP with our situation with regard to the enjoyment of the right to development established by the Human Rights Council in 2019 under resolution 42/23 and we make recommendations for EMRIP.

In Bangladesh Indigenous peoples are increasingly faced by displacement from their ancestral and traditional lands resulting in climate change, loss of livelihoods, food insecurity, poverty, and poor health through large inappropriate and exploitative ‘development’ causing environmental degradation.

Although government policies specifically deal with recognition, reparation, and reconciliation for the development and the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The limited policy focus and weak implementation of stated policies coupled with poor mechanisms for ensuring effective and meaningful participation of indigenous peoples – a failure to use the FPIC – have resulted in ever increasing disenfranchisement and socio-economic marginalization and are the main obstacles to the Right to development.

Previously the specific government department for indigenous peoples in the Plain Land and the named Special Affairs Division (SAD). An Aboriginal officer was responsible for the specific department for the development. But the Bangladesh government has disbanded the SAD and replaced it with a Development Support Project for Small Ethnic Minorities, this is the special attention of the prime minister’s office to the plain indigenous communities. The ongoing failure of the government and the gap in the effective engagement of indigenous peoples to ensure lasting human rights violations and conflict.

(a) We request the EMRIP to ask the Bangladesh government why the Special Affairs Division (SAD) is being disbanded and to re-consider the need for a separate Indigenous Peoples department if the objectives of the Right to Development for indigenous peoples are to be genuinely implemented in the GoB development policy;

(b)We would also ask EMRIP to demand a separate Land commission for Plain Land Indigenous peoples and Full Implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) accord.

Thank you