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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Bangladeshi Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Environment a Great Success January 27th, 2012

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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Protection of Khasi Villages Overturned by Court Order March 19th, 2010

Joseph Gomes in the SylhetA January victory by the Khasi people in stopping logging on their lands has been overturned by a High Court decision issued in late February. Four indigenous villages in Bangladesh, with their 500 Khasi residents, will be destroyed if logging by a local tea estate owner is allowed to continue.

An Oblate priest, Fr. Joseph Gomes, OMI, along with other colleagues from the environmental community have been working with the Khasi people to protect the forest and their villages. We urge all parties in a position to do so, to raise serious concerns with the Government of Bangladesh regarding this situation.

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Khasi People Continue to Protest Destruction of their Forest May 20th, 2009

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The Khasi people of Sylhet, supported by the Oblates there, have been fighting the cutting of the forest on which the people depend for their living. These efforts are also critically important for protecting area ecosystems.

On May 9th, the Khasi people staged a large public gathering to protest the continued logging as well as tea plantation expansion plans by a powerful landowner.

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