IPOs and CSOs in Bangladesh undertake programmes for celebration of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

The Indigenous Peoples Organisations (IPOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Bangladesh have taken programmes to celebrate 9 August International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples across the country. The programmes include public gathering, rally, cultural event, publication of souvenir, poster and leaflet, exhibition, seminar, discussion meeting, indigenous fair etc. in capital and district & upazila (sub-district) level.

It is mentionable that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People (9 August) was first proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (1995–2004). The Second International Decade, from 2005–2014, was proclaimed by the General Assembly in 2004 with the theme of “A Decade for Action and Dignity.” The focus of this year’s International Day is “Bridging the gap: implementing the rights of indigenous peoples”.

Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF), the national platform of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh, will start its programme with holding press conference on the occasion of the Day. The press conference will be held on 5 August 2014, at 11:00 am at Hotel Sundarban in Dhaka. President of BIPF Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma will deliver speech in this press meet. On 9 August from 10:00 am, BIPF will organize public meeting, rally and cultural programme at Central Shahid Minar in Dhaka. Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Prof. Mizanur Rahman will inaugurate the programme while honourable Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mr. Rashed Khan Menon MP will be present as chief guest. BIPF has published a souvenir named Sanghati (Solidarity) and poster marking the Day.

Kapaeeng Foundation, a national level human rights organisation for indigenous peoples in Bangladesh, and Bangladesh Indigenous Cultural Forum, with the support of Oxfam, will jointly organize discussion meeting, cultural programme and photo exhibition at National Museum of Shahbag in Dhaka on 11 August 2014, from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The title of the discussion is the “Second International Decade and Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh’. Among other, Honorable Communication Minister of the Peoples’ Republic of Bangladesh Mr. Obaidul Quader MP, president of BIPF Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma and chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on CHT Affairs Ministry Mr. R. A. M. Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury MP will speak in this discussion. Besides, Kapaeeng Foundation and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) will jointly publish a human rights report on indigenous peoples of Bangladesh.

Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous Peoples will organise a discussion meeting and cultural programme at Begum Sufia Kamal Auditorium of National Museum at Shahbag in Dhaka on 11 August 2014, at 11:00 am.

13 Organisations including Association for Land Reforms and Development (ALRD), Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh Hindu Bouddha Christian Oikya Parishad, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad and BIPF undertake discussion meeting titled “Preventing Eviction of Indigenous Peoples from their Ancestral Lands and Promoting their Human Rights: Role of the State” on 8 August 2014 at 3:00 pm at CIRDAP Auditorium in Dhaka.

Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF) undertakes two-day long programme including Adivasi Mela (Indigenous Fair), Seminar, Cultural Event and Photo Exhibition on 9-10 August 2014 at premises of Bangla Academy in Dhaka. President of BIPF Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma will inaugurate MJF’s programme on 9 August at around 12:30 noon.

Bangladesh Adivasi Chhatra Songram Parishad (Indigenous Student Action Forum) will form a human chain demanding “Maintain Cultural Harmony of Indigenous Peoples and Implement the Recommendations of the UN Human Rights Council for Development of Indigenous Peoples” on 6 August 2014, at 11:00 am, in front of National Museum at Shahbag in Dhaka.

Garo Student Union (GASU) will organize “Lighting of Thousands Candles” in memory of indigenous martyrs who dedicated their life for the rights of indigenous peoples on 8 August 2014 at 6:00 pm, at Central Shahid Minar in Dhaka. Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission Prof. Mizanur Rahman and eminent columnist Syed Abul Moksud are expected to be present in the programme.

MADOL, a cultural group of indigenous youths, undertakes “Song of the Masses” (Gono Songit) on14 August 2014, at 5:00 pm, at National Library Auditorium of Agargaon in Dhaka.

District Level Programme: The IPOs and CSOs will also organize programmes, such as, public meeting, cultural event, exhibition, sports, etc. marking the Day at different district and upazila (sub-district) level.

Jatiya Adivasi Parishad (JAP) will organise in Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Joypurhat and Nogaon districts. The main programme of JAP will be held at Rajshahi town on 12 August 2014.

Different chapters of BIPF undertake programmes in Rangamati, Bandarban, Khagrachari, Chittgong, Cox’s Bazar and Netrokon districts.

Besides, the International Day will also be celebrated in Sylhet by Adivasi Dibas Udjapan Committee; in Moulvibazar-Kulaura by Kubraj Antapunjee Unnayan Songathon and IPDS; in Tangail-Madhupur by 14 organistions including Joyenshahi Adivasi Unnayan Parishad; in Natore by Adivasi Samaj Unnayan Sangstha (ASUS); in Netrokona by 5 organisations including Hajong Mata Rashimoni Kalyan Parishad; Sherpur and Gazipur districts by various IPOs and CSOs.