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Law for indigenous communities stressed

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Staff Reporter
Human rights activists on Wednesday stressed the need of constitutional recognition and introduction of sepa-rate law for indigenous communities to ensure human rights and security of these communities.
The experts also urged the communities to involve themselves in the politics and create representatives from them to build up a platform where they can raise their voice and talk about their rights.
They were speaking at a seminar titled "Eviction of the Marginalized People Including Indigenous Communi-ties from their Land and their Human Rights" organized by International Indigenous Day 2018 Celebration Committee comprising of 17 organizations at the CIRDAP auditorium in the city.
Sanjeeb Drong, General Secretary at Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum in his key note paper said, indige-nous people have been forced to migrate from their country again and again since 1947.
More than one lakh people became victim of land eviction in 1960 because of the Kaptai Water Electricity Plant and 60,000 of them were forced to migrate to India and Myanmar, he added.
Sanjeeb also claimed that many indigenous communities are at risk of extinction while some of them, such as Hajong community, have become almost extinct.
Once more than 50,000 Rakhine people used to live in Barguna and Patuakhali district, which has now come down to only 2,200 as many of the people have migrated or left their lands due to security issue, he said add-ing that the Rakhine community may become extinct from the area after a few decades.
Speaking as special guest, Convener of the Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous Affairs, Fazle Hossain Badsha said, migration of the indigenous communities cannot be prevented by the existing laws of the country.
"Regardless of the regions, it is important to recognize the indigenous communities constitutionally and pre-serve their individual language, arts, culture and livelihood", said Sanjeeb Drong.
To ensure their security, special law need to be introduced, he said while urging everyone to come forward and to work together to build up a non-communal country where equal rights for every citizen can be ensured.
Rowshan Jahan Moni, Deputy Executive Director of Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), said, lives and livelihood of the indigenous people depend much on land and their surroundings.
Implementation of international agreements is needed to ensure their security in this regard, she added.
Among others, Advocate Rana Dasgupta, the general secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Bouddha-Christian Oikya Parishad and Rabindranath Soren, Chairman of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad also spoke during the seminar chaired by Advocate Sultana Kamal, a human rights activist.