Our indigenous peoples are as much a part of our country as any other people
When it comes to the benefits of development reaching our indigenous communities, there remains much work to be done.
This is evident in the over 100 social safety net programs present in our country, which, according to experts, have not been adequate in bringing true positive changes to the indigenous communities.
Indeed, it is distressing to learn that the rate of poverty amongst the indigenous population is almost three times the national average, which shows that they have not been cared for adequately, and this must change.
Our indigenous people have their own demands and their own voices, and when programs and policies are devised to enhance or create a sustainable livelihood, it is important to acknowledge the cultural diversity, and listen to them and understand their needs.
For a country such as Bangladesh, looking to make the next step in its development journey, it must be remembered that this development must be sustainable and inclusive, with the expectation that people from all walks of life, regardless of their culture or beliefs, will enjoy the economic prosperity that comes from this development.
To that end, there is no doubting that the long-standing prejudice and discrimination that exists against our indigenous communities and it threatens to undermine all the development Bangladesh as a nation continues to experience.
Our indigenous peoples are as much a part of our country as any other people, and as such, they deserve their voices to be heard, and feel safe, and included in all the progress the country is making.