The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be successfully implemented if the government does not engage Adivasi people in policy-making and implementation process, speakers said on Wednesday.
Addressing a workshop on Adivasi people’s access to justice and development in Dhaka, one of the speakers also expressed concern that the monitoring system to ensure that the Adivasi communities enjoy their rights was not working properly.
The workshop, titled “Improving indigenous people’s access to justice and development through community-based monitoring and reporting” was jointly organized by International Labour Organization (ILO) and Kapaeeng Foundation as a part of a project undertaken by the two organizations on the Adivasi people of Bangladesh.
Speaking at the event, Alexius Chicham, national coordinator of the ILO’s Indigenous and Tribal Population project, said the data on Adivasis in the national census are incorrect, which is why accurate data must be collected to ensure proper implementation of SDGs.
He further said the Adivasi communities in Bangladesh are living in constant worry and fear as land grabbers are increasingly taking possession of their land. On top of that, there are no clearly defined measures to save their linguistic rights and ensure adequate employment opportunities for them, he added.
Kapaeeng Foundation Executive Director Pallab Chakma said Adivasi people are always prepared to stand against all odds and play a vital role in achieving the SDGs.
“To ensure proper implementation of the laws and rules for indigenous people, the government should consult them,” he added.
Rights activist Khusi Kabir urged the authorities concerned to urgently form a land commission to ensure the land rights of the Adivasis.
The workshop was also attended by National Human Rights Commission member Meghna Guhathakrutha, Centre for Policy Dialogue Additional Director Anis Pervez, and Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics Director Kabir Uddin Ahmed.