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Protecting Rights of Indigenous people

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Speakers at a discussion in Dhaka on August 8 laid stress on protecting the traditional rights of indigenous people, in order to protect the country’s forest and forest resources. They felt the forest and forest resources will be destroyed day by day unless the rights of indigenous community could be ensured. They mentioned that the indigenous community has long been depending on forest and forest resources for their livelihood. Bangladesh Poribesh Andolan (BAPA) and Adibashi Poribesh Raksha Andolan (APRA) jointly organized the discussion titled “Forest Management in Bangladesh: Threatened Indigenous Peoples” on the occasion of the International Day of the World Indigenous People.
Although the animals have sanctuary for their livelihood, the indigenous community has no certain land for their accommodation as they have no official right on land. Initiative should be taken to identify the exact area of reserve forest in the country in order to protect bio diversity. All including the indigenous people and the settlers should create a social movement to protect the forest and forest resources. There is an allegation that a vested quarter has been destroying forests in the name of development and industrialization. European Union Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Stefan Frowein on August 9 said in Bangladesh the richness and diversity of indigenous people’s ways of life, languages and traditions is evident from the north to the south of the country. He said, “I know very well that indigenous peoples here still face major problems but from an international perspective the general level of respect in Bangladesh for indigenous peoples’ rights can be considered one of the success stories of Bangladesh’s democratic development”.
Effective steps must be taken to make the indigenous people skilled literate and socially empowered to enable them to prosper honourably. In this context, concerted efforts must be made to bring the aboriginal people to the mainstream of the society for ensuring their welfare. At a human chain programme in Rajshahi on August 9 speakers laid emphasis on protecting the ethnic community from all sorts of repression to help them lead peaceful life. Depicting a grim picture of their lifestyle, they underscored the need for undertaking special programmes to protect their human rights and them from discrimination. Bengali settlement is the core issue for land dispute in the hill districts said Deputy Leader of Parliament and Convener of Chittagong Hill Tracts Implementation Committee and land survey, as she said is a must to solve the problem. The Food Minister on August 7 emphasized and urged the indigenous people to improve their economic condition to be emancipated from the problem. The State Minister for Cultural Affairs Promod Mankin suggested an Indigenous Cultural Institution Act in place of Small Ethnic Group Cultural Institution Act in order to preserve and nourish their separate culture and way of life. The distinct identity and history of the indigenous people should be recognized constitutionally by amending the Constitution. Land dispute in the Hill Tracts must be settled speedily and implement Peace Treaty to restore confidence of the indigenous people.
Religious And Social Values
The need for grooming up school going boys and girls with religious and social values to protect the young generation from degeneration. This was underlined by speakers at while addressing the prize giving ceremony of Rajshahi divisional Hifzul Quran Competition organized by Islamic Foundation in Rajshahi on August 8. Students should be equipped with religious and social values and modern knowledge to serve the nation in future.
Students have a vital role to play in freeing the society from all sorts of vices like drug addiction and eave teasing. They have to enrich themselves with technology based knowledge to face the challenges of the 21st century. Religious leaders and teachers of morality can play a prominent role in building a time-befitting social system side by side with making the young generation free from all sorts of demoralized activities. Religious leaders can easily mould the lives of the students.
The Islamic Foundation Bangladesh must expand its activities so that more children could derive the benefits. We have no alternative but to follow the religious rules and regulations to maintain individual and social disciplines in every sphere of life. Religious leaders have the knack to motivate the deviated students and children. Many boys and girls become trackless, misguided and deviated due to utter lack of proper moral teaching and guidelines. Inculcate religious and social values among children and students to help reduce social crimes.   

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