Training of IPHRDs on Promoting UPR Recommendations Held in Cox’s Bazar

On 25-27 October 2015, a three day training titled “Training of Indigenous Human Rights Defenders on Promoting UPR Recommendations on Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh” held at Cox’s Hilton Hotel, Kolatoli, Cox’s Bazar. The training was jointly organised by Kapaeeng Foundation (KF), Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF), Cox’s Bazar Region and Coalition of Indigenous Peoples Organisations on Universal Periodic Review (UPR). A total of 28 indigenous peoples human rights defenders (IPHRDs) from different parts of the country, belonging to Bawm, Chakma, Marma, Rakhaine, Khyang, Mro, Pankhua, Munda and Tripura attended the training programme.

In the inaugural session of the three day training programme, Moung Thela Rakhaine, General Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples’ Forum, Cox’s Bazar chapter; Lalosa Chakma, Executive Director of Kabidang; Kya Zaw Aung Rakhain, Executive Member of Kapaeeng Foundation and Mr.Pallab Chakma, Executive Director of Kapaeeng Foundation delivered their speeches.  Mr. Manik Soren, project officer of Kapaeeng Foundation moderated the inaugural session.

In his speech, Mr. Pallab Chakma, Executive Director of Kapaeeng Foundation, discussed the overall situation of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh. He also discussed the purpose of the training and briefly stated about some key recommendations of Universal Periodic Review (UPR) related to indigenous peoples in Bangladesh.

Mr. Kya Zaw Aung said that the indigenous peoples of Cox’s Bazar were less connected to the mass movement of indigenous peoples;in very recent years they have developed relations with several indigenous organisations like Bangladesh Adivasi Forum and Kapaeeng Foundation. He also stated that the indigenous peoples of Cox’s Bazar region are facing threat of eviction from their ancestral lands and some extremist and religious fanatics people are always conspiring to create instability. For example, few years back indigenous peoples suffered from the Ramu incident, which was a gruesome incident of religious persecution.

In her speech Ms. Lalosa Chakma expressed her thoughts about UPR and thanked Kapaeeng Foundation and Indigenous Coalition of UPR. She said that indigenous peoples do not know much about the UPR. Therefore the training is very timely and this is a good opportunities to learn more about the UPR process. She hoped that the training would address the limitation of indigenous peoples human rights defenders and increase the understanding on UPR as well as other human rights mechanims.

Mr. Moung Thela stated that the indigenous peoples of Cox’s Bazar region feel insecure to work on human rights issue. Though there are a few number of IPHRD working but most of them do not have enough understanding regarding human rights mechanisms and UPR. This training would be very helpful to orient about the mechanisms of UPR among them. He also shared some personal experiences, which are related to violence against women and the challenges of the IPs of Cox’s Bazar region.

In this three day training programme, several technical sessions were conducted related to human rights mechanisms and UPR. The sessions were, inter alia, on international human rights mechanisms and indigenous peoples rights; situation of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh and national legal frameworks related to indigenous peoples; UPR recommendations on combating violence against indigenous women and girls and access to legal justice; UPR processes and modalities; Bangladesh in UPR and indigenous peoples; monitoring of Implementation of UPR Recommendations, documentation and data gathering related to UPR; lobby and advocacy related to UPR; preparation of stakeholder report; role play on UPR session; way forward and evaluation. The technical sessions were facilitated by, among others, Professor Mong Shanoo Chowdhury, Nirupa Dewan, Advocate Chanchu Chakma, Pallab Chakma, Hiran Mitra Chakma, Bablu Chakma and Manik Soren.

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