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Monday, May 19, 2008

DU survey reports 61 percent indigenous people in Bangladesh face discrimination

Report: The Dailystar News

A survey on 332 indigenous people shows about 61 per cent of them are discriminated against in different ways while 76 per cent fall victim to violence and threats.
The findings of the survey conducted by Dhaka University teachers Prof Dr Nazrul Islam and Prof Dr Asif Nazrul under a project of Bangladesh Manobadhikar Bastobayan Sangstha, were revealed at a discussion meeting at the WVA auditorium in the capital yesterday.
The survey was conducted on 332 indigenous people in Jessore, Mymensingh, Chapainawabganj, Gaibandha, Jamalpur, Pabna, Rangamati, Sylhet and indigenous students of Dhaka University between March and April last year under the project Strengthening Human Rights Support through Enhancing Access to Justice for Vulnerable Groups and Advocacy for Reform.
The findings showed about 18.67 per cent of them were evicted from their ancestral land. Besides, 6.02 per cent participants in the survey believe that justice cannot be ensured by court while 5.72 per cent of them are ignorant about legal process.
The speakers at the meeting said most indigenous people are not aware of the laws that guarantee their rights. Besides, human rights organisations also fail to reach out to the victims who badly need their legal support, they said.
Member of the national committee of Manobadhikar Bastobayan Sangstha Dr Mizanur Rahman Shelly, who presided over the meeting, said the government should formulate and implement new policies to ensure the rights of indigenous people.
Executive director of the organisation advocate Elina Khan said coordination among the organisations working for the welfare of indigenous people is very important to provide them with necessary assistance.
Representatives of different organisations that provide legal support for indigenous people were also present.

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