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Ethnic communities demand separate ministry to protect rights

  • Published at 03:45 pm May 9th, 2019
web_Speakers-at-a-meeting-on-ethnic-minority-rights,-organized-by-Transparency-International-Bangladesh-(TIB)-at-its-office-in-Dhaka-on-May-9,-2019-Courtesy.jpg
Speakers at a meeting on ethnic minority rights,organized by Transparency International Bangladesh(TIB) at its office in Dhaka on May 9, 2019 Courtesy

Leaders of the minority communities asked the government to enact laws to protect their rights

Ethnic community leaders on Thursday demanded forming a separate ministry, or a special cell under the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs, to ensure the rights and development of minority communities.

The leaders made the demand at an advocacy meeting, titled “Ethnic and Dalit communities’ rights and inclusion in government services”, arranged by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) at its conference room in Dhaka.

Leaders of the minority communities asked the government to enact laws to protect their rights.

They placed a 13-point demand at the meeting, which includes a separate loan law, incorporating communities that were previously excluded from the ethnic communities list, and ensuring reserved seats in the parliament for ethnic community members.

Bangladesh Adivasi Forum General Secretary Sanjeeb Drong said: “The government is violating the constitution by depriving Dalit and ethnic communities of their rights.”

Regarding the government's treatment of ethnic minorities, he claimed that they are behaving like colonial rulers.

Rabindranath Soren, president of Jatiya Adivasi Parishad, said Dalit and ethnic communities are in danger and almost 75% of their properties has been grabbed.

“Our lands have been grabbed in the name of companies. Ethnic communities must build a strong movement to ensure their rights along with Bangalis.”

Speaking at the event, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said he believes that the government will ensure all rights for the Dalit community and other ethnic minorities to build a country in accordance with the spirit of the Liberation War.

Avijan Executive Director Banani Biswas, TIB Director of Policy and Research Mohammad Rofiqul Hasan, TIB Senior Program Manager Abu Syed Md Jewel Mia, and other minority leaders were also present at the meeting.

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