EU ambassador urges Government, human rights should get more attention

Date of publication: 
23 July 2012

The government needs to pay more attention to human rights of people in every community as human rights violation amounts to the violation of democracy.

European Union Ambassador to Bangladesh William Hanna said this at a seminar in the capital yesterday, also urging the state to protect the rights of indigenous people.

The seminar titled “Indigenous Peoples in the Plain Land: Challenges and Prospects” was jointly organised by Indigenous Peoples Development Services and Oxfam GB.

Addressing as the chief guest, Hanna said the EU will continue discussions with the government and other stakeholders on human rights protection.

National Human Rights Commission Chairman Prof Mizanur Rahman, also present on the occasion as special guest, said a country cannot be called democracy if rights of its indigenous people are not ensured equally with other citizens.

He said the land ministry should establish a separate land commission for dealing with the disputes over the indigenous people’s properties.

Expressing annoyance at policies of bureaucratic institutions involved with the indigenous issues, the NHRC boss said government officials need to be acquainted with the communities so that they can realise what their responsibilities are.

ILO Country Director Andre Bogui urged the government to take steps for protection of the socio-cultural rights of indigenous communities.

Bangladesh Adivasi Forum General Secretary Sanjeeb Drong said many indigenous families, especially those living in the plain land, have been evicted from their ancestral homesteads by locally influential land grabbers.

He placed some recommendations including their constitutional recognition as Adivasi, formation of a land commission to protect their land rights and measures for their educational facilities and economic development.

The seminar held at Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh was also addressed by Gareth Price Jones, country director of Oxfam GB, with Dhaka University Prof Dalem Ch Barman in the chair.