Welcome to our Website ... Support our fight against human rights violations in CHT .......... LATEST NEWS......... Constitution has no bias against ethnic groups..............

Constitution has no bias against ethnic groups

Staff Correspondent, New Age, 11 May 2008
Former chief of a caretaker administration Justice Habiur Rahman said on Saturday that he found no discrimination against any social, religious or ethnic groups in the constitution and suggested that anyone who would find it should come up with specific recommendations for addressing the issue.

‘You should suggest a clause for insertion in the constitution specifying the type of constitutional recognition [of indigenous population] you want. My personal view is that our constitution does not discriminate against [any groups],’ Habibur Rahman, also a former chief justice, told a workshop on solution to disputes over the lands of indigenous people living in north-western districts.

Political leaders, senior citizens, rights activists and members of the indigenous communities addressed the workshop organised by Jatiya Adibashi Parishad, an organisation looking after the rights of indigenous people. Anil Marandi, president of the parisad chaired the workshop held at the National Press Club.

Habibur Rahman advised the indigenous communities to pursue their demands, particularly the one related to their constitutional recognition, for which they have long been campaigning.

‘We have to undertake the initiative and we might face some difficulties in the process’, he said adding that the people would be ready to face the problems for the sake of peace.

The former chief adviser referred to many difficulties the indigenous communities were facing across the globe and expressed satisfaction that some progress had been made towards recognition of the rights of indigenous people. He praised the communities for raising their voice for self-dignity. He said he would not be surprised to see an indigenous man or woman taking the highest office of the republic in the 21st century. He stressed the need for an effective land commission to settle ethnic minority people’s land claims.

Ajay Roy, a retired professor of Dhaka University, called for ‘a change in our attitude towards the indigenous people.’ Mujahidul Islam Selim, secretary general of the Communist Party of Bangladesh, said that a comprehensive study on the land disputes should be carried out to settle all land-related issues. Haider Akbar Khan Rano of the Workers Party urged all political parties to include the issues of the indigenous people in their election manifestoes so that they remain committed to the indigenous peoples’ causes. Former adviser and rights activist Sultana Kamal said that the right to land was a basic right of every citizen. ‘But it is unfortunate that in the cases of indigenous people, the state does not discharge its responsibility as per its mandate.’

Aungkyew Mong
Kapaeeng Watch
(A human rights group for indigenous peoples)
Jagannath Hall, Dhaka University
Dhaka, Bangladesh
E-mail: kapaeeng.watch@gmail.com, kapaeeng.watch@micico.ch

Similar News