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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Experiences and lessons learned concerning the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights: Seminar statement

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

INFORMATION SHARING

Any interested person can contact the concerned institution based on the information provided

Category: Statement

Date: 6 May 2009

Co-organized by: International Labor Organization (ILO)
United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)
National Foundation for the Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN

Statement of the participants of the Asia Regional Seminar
“Experiences and lessons learned concerning the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights”

Kathmandu, Nepal April 27-29, 2009

More than 90 representatives of indigenous peoples, government and national human rights institutions from 13 Asian countries, along with representatives of UN agencies and bilateral and multilateral development agencies convened in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Seminar was jointly organized by the Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), the Regional Initiative on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights and Development of the UNDP (UNDP-RIPP), the Programme to Promote ILO Convention No. 169 of the ILO (ILO/PRO 169) and the National Foundation for the Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN).

The aim of the seminar was to discuss and exchange experiences and lessons learned in the Asian region concerning the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights, as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the ILO Convention No. 169.

The seminar provided the participants a unique opportunity to be inspired and motivated by the efforts of the Nepali government and indigenous peoples and their organizations to include indigenous peoples’ rights in the current state reform process and to implement ILO Convention No. 169, which Nepal ratified in September 2007.

The seminar was privileged with the presence of Chief Guest, Chairperson of the Constituent Assembly of Nepal, Rt. Honourable Subhas Chandra Nemwang and Guest of Honour, Honourable Dipankar Talukdar, State Minister of the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs of Bangladesh. Both honoured guests strongly encouraged and motivated the other participants through their commitment to working for the implementation of indigenous peoples' rights in their respective countries.

During the course of the seminar, the participants shared experiences concerning the key challenges and opportunities regarding the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights at regional, national and local levels, including issues related to the identification and recognition of indigenous peoples; consultation, participation and consent; land, territories and natural resources and key government responsibilities with regard to implementation of indigenous peoples' rights.

The seminar confirmed that the Asian region has generated valuable experiences and lessons learned concerning the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights. However, much still remains to be done, in terms of adequate inclusion of indigenous peoples’ rights in constitutions, legislation, policies - and execution of those policies - for ensuring implementation of already existing national and international instruments, laws and policies, which is the minimum standard for survival of indigenous peoples. Although some positive steps are seen with regards to the establishment of institutions, there is still a need to develop and strengthen the institutional mechanisms for implementation of indigenous peoples' rights, including the allocation of adequate budget provisions by governments and donors.

One particular challenge, shared across countries in the region, is the establishment of permanent mechanisms for consultation, participation and consent of indigenous peoples in all levels of decision-making that affects their lives and communities.

Inspired by the sharing of experiences and good practices, the participants made key recommendations to indigenous peoples' organisations, governments, donors and other concerned stakeholders in the following areas: using national and international human rights frameworks; meaningful consultation, participation and representation of indigenous peoples, especially women and youth; strengthening government and indigenous peoples' capacity; recognising land and resources and establishing forms of self determination in practice. The participants also reaffirmed their commitment to work towards the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights, through local and national activities as well as enhanced regional networking.

==================================================================================================================================== Chin Khan Muan Gualnam
Research and Communication Development Manager (RCDM)
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation (AIPP)
108 Moo 5, Soi 6Tambon Sanpranate, Amphur Sansai
Chiang Mai - 50210, Thailand
Office Phone: +66 (0) 53380168, Fax: +6653380752
Mobile: +66 (0) 834741476
Emal: muan@aippnet.org, aippmail@aippnet.org
Alternate email: letstalkpal@hotmail.com
Website: www.aippnet.org

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Awami League activists demolishes Shiva Temple in the Capital

A collection of reports i nthe Shiva Temple incidents.
Reports published in various newspaper of Bangladesh.


Reports from Janmabhumi:

Weekly Janmabhumi, 30th April, 2009: NY/ Dhaka: A half-century old Shiva temple in Sutrapur at the heart of the Capital was demolished by the Awami League supporters. The miscreants at the time physically assaulted nearby residents in an effort to uproot them from the area. Although the incident occurred just behind a precinct, the police were unresponsive. The second in command of the precinct alleged to have been directing the attack. Responding to media inquiries the precinct commander, Mr. Tofazzal Hossain, said, “No demolition of temple occurred. There was no temple there, only a few Idols were there.” No complaints were recorded as of eight o’clock yesterday evening. In a previous attack, on March 30, these miscreants expelled thirteen Hindu families from the area.
The demolition of Shiva temple occurred just twenty yards behind the Sutrapur precinct yesterday morning. Local sources confirmed that the property sits on a 32 katha land and 68 Hindu and Muslim families inhabit there. Mr. Mahbubur Rahman, a local resident, had been scheming to take possession of the property for a long time. After Mahbubur Rahman’s death, his brother Saleh and two sons, Dipu and Asad, tried to take possession of the property. Finally, on March 30, they succeeded by expelling 13 Hindu families from the property. They were able to capture the land-lot bearing number(s): 88, 96, and 97. Yesterday morning around 10 o’clock, with support from local terrorists, descended on the property to capture lot number: 95. Eye witnesses revealed that there were two city owned trees there. Local residents resisted the terrorists’ attempt to cut down those hundreds of years old trees. Witnesses confirmed that Mr. Tofazzal and Salam, the two Awami League leaders, were standing nearby during the attack. The terrorists attacked local residents around 11 o’clock for resisting toppling the trees and injured at least 10 people including Ali Akbar, Lalchan, Alam Chan, Nadim and Rahela. Among the wounded, five were admitted to Dhaka medical College Hospital for treatment.
The wounded stated that the terrorists, along with attacking their families, also flattened the nearby Shiva temple to the ground.
Local sources said, the Shiva temple on R. M. Das road was more than half-a-century old. The Pakistani soldiers damaged the temple in 1971. In the aftermath of that incident and until now, local members of Hindu community created a shrine by setting up some Idols in there and continued their worships. However, the terrorist occupiers, supporting the ruling government, flattened those to the ground in yesterday attack. The occupiers destroyed the Idols of Shiva, Kali, and Saraswati. The terrorists continued their assault for three hours and boasted their affiliation with the ruling Awami League party. Local residents and witnesses were too fearful for their safety to come to the victims’ aid. Resident said that the local precinct’s second-in-command were at the scene. They alleged that he was complicit in the attack.
Sources said, these miscreants tried to capture the said property for a long time without success. Recently under the shelter of the ruling party they renewed their efforts. On 30th march they uprooted a total of 13 Hindu families. No one had any knowledge of those families’ whereabouts now. The police are also in dark of the status of these 13 families. During the incident the attackers also looted their household items and belongings.
On the other hand, the victims went to the precinct immediately after yesterdays attack to file complaints. The representative of the temple committee also went to the precinct. But the police was hesitant to accept any complaint. Reached on the phone at 8 o’clock in the evening, the duty officer Mr. Jahangir said, “Someone came to file complaints, but no complaint has been lodged yet”.
At 8 o’clock in the evening Mr. Tofazzal Hossain, the Precinct Commander, was contacted. He told this reporter, “There was no temple there. No incident of demolition of temple occurred”. He said, “There were a few Idols there”. Asked whether destroying Idols was lawful, he replied, “I instructed them to lodge complaints”. Asked, if those people who demolished the temple had any political identity, he said, “They have no political identity”. Inquired about the distance between the precinct and where the incident occurred, he replied, “just behind”. (Translated by Pradip Das).


SHIB MANDIR DESTROYED BY AWAMI LEAGUE SUPPORTERS?

Report from Nayadiganta
Nayadiganta, 29th April, 2009: Shib Mandir, in Sutrapur, Dhaka was partly destroyed by Awami League supporters at yesterday evening. They also driven out Hindus surrounding the temple and beat them mercilessly. It was complained that, police was present, but did nothing to stop that. When asked, police told that, no temple was there, only a few deities were there. Police also did not take any case. Note that, those thugs evicted 13 Hindu families from the same are on 30th March 2009. Sources told that, in 1971, Pakistani army had partly destroyed the temple. From then, Hindus could not build another temple, but was worshipping in the same dilapidated temple.


400 Hindus evicted from their ancestrial home & Temple bulldozed by Muslims

Report from Samakal.


The Daily Samakal, 17th April 2009: 400 Hindus of Vusir Goli at Sutrapur were evicted from their ancestral home by hundred of local Muslim people with the assistance of local police. Abdul Kayum, younger brother of Nizamuddin, General Secretary, Awami League, Asad Mahabub Bipu, Son of late Mahabub Ali, Saleh Ahamed and local leader Tofael led to demolish house no 88, 96 and 97. They did it in presence of police security. They also demolished the oldest Kalir Ghat Shiva Mondir (Temple) of this area. The Hindus, holding no 89, 90, 91, 91 (2), 91(3), 94, 95, had been residing this area last one and half century. They have been paying tax, bills (gas, electricity, water) regularly. Hindus, Mr. Jogesh Chandra Dash and Mr. Taroka Nath Dash were the real owner of this land. The present owners acquired this land by mutation. However, government listed the lands as vested properties later on. It is identified that Asad Mahabub Bipu, s/o late Mahabub Ali has more property, which was grabbed from Hindu people. An influential group claimed ownership of the said land by filling title suit against the present owners. They also threaten to the local Hindus. Translated by JH.

Police start probe into attack on local people at Sutrapur

Report from New Age

Staff Correspondent:
Dhaka, 30 April 2009: The police on Wednesday started investigation into the attack on some families and damage of a Hindu temple at Sutrapur of Old Town in Dhaka on Tuesday. On Tuesday, a group of people, allegedly loyal to local influential Asad and Bipu, went to the temple site at Bhusir Goli and starting cutting two trees on the government land. The people alleged that Asad and Bipu are supporters of ruling Awami League. As the local people resisted them, the group started assaulting the locals, leaving about 10 of them injured. The attackers also damaged some houses during the vandalism that continued for more than two hours from about 10:00am. Some of the residents told New Age on Wednesday that the same group damaged the temple on March 30 and erected boundary wall on the eight katha land two days later. The attackers also came to the site on Tuesday in a bid to evict the remaining Hindu families to grab the land.