Protection of Indigenous Women’s Human Rights: Discussion Meeting on Practicable Responsibilities to Prevent Violence

On the 25th August, 2022, at 2.30 PM, a discussion meeting was held in CBCB Center, Mohammadpur in Dhaka with the initiative of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) regarding Protection of Indigenous Women’s Human Rights: Practicable Responsibilities to Prevent Violence. Dr. Fauzia Moslem, Chairman of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, presided over this discussion meeting. Moreover, Maleka Banu, General Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP), gave her welcome speech. Sanjeeb Drong, General Secretary of Indigenous Forum was present as a special guest.

In this discussion meeting, 75 people were present including Rekha Chowdhury, Asst. Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP); Masuda Rehana Begum, Joint General Secretary; Rabeya Khatun Shanti, Secretary of Movement; Rekha Shaha, Secretary of Legal Aid, other secretaries, representatives of Indigenous Women Network and Indigenous Forum and officers of organizations.

In this meeting, Shima Moslem, Combined General Secretary of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP), discussed regarding human rights of indigenous women: Abolition of Discrimination Act to Women known as CEDAW Certificate; Chanchana Chakma, Member Secretary of Indigenous Women Network, discussed regarding indigenous rights declared by United Nations. Moreover, Adv. Deepti Rani Shikdar, In charge Director of Legal Advocacy of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP), discussed regarding practicable responsibilities to prevent violence to women.

As a President, Dr. Fauzia Moslem said that-

There is an intimate relationship between nature and indigenous people. Therefore, we need to keep nature sustainable if we want to keep the indigenous people sustainable. Language, culture and diversity of indigenous people; these all are our asset. However, this asset is being destroyed for many reasons. At present, violence is continuing in everywhere like mountains and flat areas with the same beat. We know that indigenous people have their own laws like their own culture, therefore, we have to keep balance between their conventional and their laws to protect their rights properly. Women who live in mountains, have to apply their knowledge to remove their problems, if they combine themselves with the mainstream movement by organizing their own energy, then their movement of getting their rights will be more easier. Also, they need further advancement in education to get their full rights, they should get chance to be educated in their own language, full implementation of CEDAW Certificate along with closure of political violence and correction of conventional governance is needed. She ended her speech by hoping that one day there will be a human society based on equal rights.

Maleka Banu, General Secretary said in welcoming speech of the meeting that contribution of indigenous women in the Liberation War is significant. They are part of this ground. Though the matter of equal rights of men-women is mentioned in the constitution, it is not possible to ensure of that equality after 52 years of independence. Human rights of indigenous people are violated for many reasons, therefore, indigenous women are victim of more obstacles, violence and discrimination.

Rabeya Khatun Shanti, Secretary of Movement said that, Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) believes from the very beginning that women have no origin difference, every woman is equal and human. Indigenous women are struggling after ages every day to protect their existence. Their movement should be made more powerful and advanced by should be combining this movement with mainstream and main flow of women movement and she ended her speech by saying that Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP) always supports their all movements regarding protecting indigenous rights.

Sanjeeb Drong, General Secretary of Indigenous Forum said as a special guest, in the current context, not only indigenous women, all women are victim of torture. However, in indigenous people’s own language, there is no word or synonym of rape and torture but still they become victim of these regularly. Most of the indigenous society are matriarch and in their society, women can move independently because of their society and culture, women do not have to tolerate any torture. Though they are not being exploited and tortured by the people of their society and culture, they are victim of the torture and oppression of the powerful people, country, society and state of the flat area. Lastly, mentioning the young indigenous women, he said that without thinking of suicide attempt, they have to stand up.

The program was hosted by Loby Jana Goswami, Director Advocacy of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad (BMP). Band team- F Minor, performed music at the beginning of the meeting.

The report of this program was published in three online newspaper. (Dhaka Post, Alokito Bangladesh and Daily Prottoy)

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