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Regional Consultation on ILO Conventions and IPs Issues held in Bandarban

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On 7 November 2009 Regional Consultation on ILO Conventions No.107 and 169 and Indigenous Peoples Issues in Bangladesh was held Bandarban Hill District Council Auditorium in Bandarban district.

The regional consultation was jointly organised by Kapaeeng Foundation and International Labour Organisation (ILO). Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma, Chairman of CHT Regional Council was present as chief guest at the inaugural session of the consultation while Raja Devasish Roy, Circle Chief of Chakma Circle presided over the session. Besides, Member of Bandarban Hill District Council Mr. Aung Prue Mro and representative of Circle Chief of Bohmong Circle Mr. Chaw Hla Prue Jimy were present at the inaugural session as special guest. Director of ILO Dhaka office Ms. Panudda Boonpala delivered welcome speech while A! ssistant General Secretary of Kapaeeng Foundation Mr. Pallab Chakma conducted the session.

Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larma in his speech said that several rights of the ILO Convention no. 107 and 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples were recognised in the CHT Accord. However, he added that though 12 years after the signing of the Accord have passed, the main provisions of the Accord remain either unimplemented or partially implemented. He urged CHT leadership including traditional and political leaders to play active role to implement the Accord and ILO convention for the sake of indigenous peoples. He also emphasised on good relation between and effective coordination of CHT Regional Council and three Hill District Councils.

Ms. Panudda Boonpala said that ILO would work for vocational training and capacity building of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh. He believed that government of Bangladesh would consider for ratification of ILO Convention 169.

Mr. Aung Prue Mro demanded to declare Chimbuk hilly range under Bandarban district as Mro region. Mro community is one of the smallest ethnic groups in CHT.

The inaugural session was followed by three working sessions. First session focused on aims and objective of ILO activities in Bangladesh, overview of PRO 169 activities in Bangladesh and ILO Policy on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (Convention 107, 169 and 111). Challenges in the implementation of CHT Accord and ways forward was discussed at the second session. Third session discussed on Land Rights and Land Disputes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

Speakers said that the government of Bangladesh should ratify ILO convention on 169 as it is progressive version of ILO convention 107 which was ratified by Bangladesh in 1972. They urged government to recognise the customary land rights of indigenous peoples immediately as per ILO convention 107 and 169. They raised voice to resolve the land disputes as per CHT Accord and to amend the CHT Land Dispute Resolution Act 2001 as per recommendations of CHT Regional Council for the same. Speakers expressed hopes that Awami League-led present grand alliance government would come forward to implement ! the Accord as per her election commitment.

Around 80 participants from three hill districts of CHT from category of traditional leaders, public representatives, teachers, lawyers, returnee refugees, women rights activists, development workers, media activists, youths etc participated in the consultation. Among others, South Asia Coordinator of Pro 169 of ILO New Delhi Office Ms. Sara Webster, Member of the CHT Regional Council Mr. K S Mong, Ms. Unue Prue Chowdhury and Mr. Loyal Devid Bawn, Member of Rangamati HDC Mr. Abhilash Tanchangya, former Chairman of Rangamati HDC Goutam Dewan, Sanjeeb Drong and Shaktipada Tripura of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, Mr. Mangal Kumar Chakma of PCJSS, National Coordinator on Promotion of the Rights of IPs from ILO Dhaka office Mr. Abhilash Tripura, eminent academic Prof Mong Sa Nu at el attended the consultation. The consultation was followed by evening cultural programme.

Source: Kapaeeng Foundation
Kapaeeng Foundation
(A human rights organisation for Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh)
House # 13/14, Babar Road, Block # B, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Bangladesh
E-mail:kapaeeng.watch@gmail.com, kapaeeng.foundation@micico.ch

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