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Human rights group claims national budget overlooks ethnic minorities

  • Published at 02:31 am May 6th, 2018
Human rights group claims national budget overlooks ethnic minorities
Kapaeeng Foundation, a human rights organization representing ethnic minority groups in Bangladesh has claimed that despite increase in the national budget in the recent fiscal years, allocation for ethnic minorities remains insufficient. They made the claim on Saturday at a pre-budget citizen meeting held at the Centre on Budget and Policy auditorium of Dhaka University Arts Faculty, jointly organized by the Parliamentary Caucus on National Planning and Budget and the Democratic Budget Movement. MP Fazle Hossain Badsha, chief guestand the convener of parliamentary caucus on indigenous affairs, said the promises made in the election manifesto of the present government should be carried out. Members of the foundation claimed that the government does not have records of ethnic minority groups living in the country and thus their demands were not reflected in budgets of previous fiscal years. “The government has increased the budgetary allocation for Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs but the lives of ethnic minorities have not changed as the allocation against demand was insufficient and there is no specific allocation to resolve their problems,” Kapaeeng members elaborated. Furthermore, they alleged that the money was not allocated only for the indigenous people but for pilgrims and development of law enforcement agencies as well. Speakers at the program said that the government lacks sincerity to implement the Hill Tracts Peace Accord and sufficient allocation was not made to implement the agreement. “In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Tk150 was allocated per indigenous person, whereas, per head allocation in national budget is around Tk26,000. Hence, ethnic groups lag behind 173 times more than the average Bangladeshi in terms of allocation in national budget.” General Secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum Sanjeeb Drong, Hiran Mitra Chakma, manager of Kapaeeng Foundation, Professor Sourav Shikder of the Department of Linguistics at Dhaka University among others spoke at the program.