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Indigenous Land Rights Asserted in Bangladesh Conference December 19th, 2012
Environment and indigenous rights activists demanded the formation of an Indigenous Peoples Commission led by an acceptable person on indigenous peoples’ right of plain lands to identify and solve problems towards protecting their rights.
This demand was raised at a discussion titled “Life and Livelihood Policy of Indigenous People and Legal Rights: Perspective of Khasi Community” organised by Bangladesh Paribesh Andolon (BAPA) and Adivasi Poribesh Rokkha Andolon (APRA) at Reporters’ Unity in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA), Bangladesh Environment Network (BEN) and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) sponsored a successful major conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Environment in Sylhet, Bangladesh January 12-14, 2012. Amidst cultural exhibitions and art displays, hundreds of participants attended workshops on environmental, social and economic issues affecting the indigenous peoples and the tea plantation workers of the Sylhet region in Northeast Bangladesh.
BAPA works closely with the Adivasi and indigenous efforts to protect their land and livelihood. The conference emphasized the importance of the need for enforcement of their rightful ownership of land and of access the courts to defend their rights and limit harassment. In light of government statements in the past year that have failed to recognize the presence of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh, the conference was also a bold statement to political leaders and government authorities about the reality of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh, the dignity of their culture and traditions, and their rightful ownership of land.
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Victory after Long Fight to Save Bangladeshi Indigenous Villages and Forest January 20th, 2010
The indigenous Khasi people of Bangladesh have won a significant victory after a long struggle to protect the forest on which they depend for their survival. The indigenous community organized against rampant logging from a local tea estate owner who had secured permission to log the forest allegedly through his political connections. Thousands of trees and many Khasi villages will be saved as a result.
The Oblates have been supportive of the efforts to protect the forest, with Fr. Joseph Gomes, OMI working closely with the Khasi people. APRA (Adibasi Poribesh Roskhya Andolon or Save Indigenous Environment Movement) of BAPA (Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon or Bangladesh Environment Movement). Fr. Gomes was joined by Sharif Jamil, National Coordinator, APRA, Joint Secretary, BAPA in successfully arguing on behalf of the Khasi people before a government panel charged with investigating the logging controversy.