Regional workshop on ILO C 107, C 111, C 169 and Indigenous Peoples Issues held in Cox’s Bazaar

On 7 April 2015 with the support of International Labor Organization (ILO), Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF) and Kapaeeng Foundation jointly organized adaylong regional workshop on ILO Convention No. 107, 111 and 169 (also known as C 107, C 111 and C 169)at Cox’s BazaarCultural Centre in Cox’s Bazaar. 60 indigenous representatives from different sub-districts of Chittagong, Cox’s Bazaar, Rangamati and Bandarban were present in this workshop.

The workshop was composed of three sessions. The inaugural session was presided over by KyawZawAung, Organization Secretary, Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum Cox’s Bazaar chapter. Shakti Pada Tripura, Organization Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, Central Committee and HiranMitra Chakma, manager, Kapaeeng Foundation presented keynotes at two working sessions of the workshop.

Alongside, SaifurUddinManik, noted columnist; Priyatosh Sharma, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council, Cox’s BazaarChapter;ChinglaMongChak, member of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, National Committee;ChendaRakhaine, member of Rakhaine Women’s Union; AkhinRakhaine,member,ChowfolDondi Union Council;SharatJyoti Chakma, convener,Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, Chittagong Chapter;Mongthenla, General secretary, Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, Cox’s Bazaar Chapter; Ain-O-Salish Kendra’s Human Rights Defenders Forum member Advocate Abdul Shukkor; Fazlul Kader Chowdhury, UdichiShilpiGoshti, Cox’s Bazaar unit President; Engineer NandanKanon,vice chairman of Cox’s Bazaar Civil Society;Md Ali Jinnat, noted journalist, and Mala King Chakma, among others, took part in the discussions of the sessions.

Shakti Pada Tripura, Organization Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum said, ILO C 107 was ratified in 1972, by Bangladesh during the era of Sheikh MuziburRahman; therefore, indigenous peoples in Bangladesh already have recognition from the state.

KyawaZawAung, Organization Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum of Cox’s Bazaar, said in order to end all sorts of violence against indigenous peoples we all have to fight together.

In his speech,Priyatosh Sharma, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council, Cox’s Bazaar Chapter, urged theGovernment of Bangladesh to implement the clauses of ILO C107, C 111, and C169 and to provide constitutional recognition to indigenous peoples in the country. He also promised to be with indigenous peoples at present and also in the future.

AkhinRakhaine, member of ChowfolDondi Union Council, has said that, we indigenous peoples are very backward, Instead of practicing our own mother language, we are practicing others languages. He requested all the members present in the workshop to practice their own cultural and traditional values along with their own mother language.

Prominent columnist SaifurUddinManik, said that in the liberation war along with the Bengali people, the indigenous peoples too took part, therefore the Bangladesh government is doing a great injustice by not recognizing them as indigenous peoples. He also mentioned that due to the presence of corrupt government representatives and bureaucrats in the CHT, the place has turned unlivable. He urged the students and the young generation have to be conscious in order to get rid of the present situation.

Fazlul Kader Chowdhury,president UdichiShilpiGoshti Cox’s Bazaar unit,said all the citizens in the country are sufferingin some ways. However, indigenous people are the most violated ones in the country. Inorder to fight for their rights, indigenous people have to fight together.

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