Kapaeeng Foundation in collaboration with Oxfam Bangladesh, released the “Human Rights Report 2016 on Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh” at The Daily Star Centre in Dhaka, on Sunday.
At the event, Executive Director of Kapaeeng Foundation Pallab Chakma said: “Compared to 2015, the number of houses burnt, persons assaulted and injured, families evicted, women molested and the number of persons killed has increased noticeably in 2016.”
It is a human rights organisation which promotes and protects of the rights of the indigenous peoples in Bangladesh.
The editors of the report, Prof Mong Shanoo Chowdhury and Pallab Chakma, wrote that the report is “an annual account of violations of human rights against indigenous peoples who live in various parts of the country. Such a documentation of rights violation is necessary in any society to encourage state's accountability to its citizens in defense of their rights.
“It is universally agreed that the strength of any polity lies more in diversity than in its mono-identity.”
According to the report, the livelihoods of at least 31,699 indigenous families, including around 98% of those living in the plain lands and 606 families from the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT), were threatened last year because of persistent land grabbing.
Human rights activist Khushi Kabir said: “It does not matter whether violence against indigenous peoples has decreased or increased. What matters is getting justice for them.”
Looting, rape and molestation by land grabbers, arson attacks, land acquisition, mostly by the government to establish special economic or tourist zones and reserve forests, and persecution by law enforcement comprise the perpetual harassment faced by the indigenous peoples, states the report.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Adivasi Forum Sanjeeb Drong said: “How can we become a developed nation without ensuring human rights?”
Former NHRC chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman Khan and Kapaeeng Foundation Chairperson Rabindranath Soren also spoke at the programme.