How The Bangladesh Government Addressed the Indigenous Women Issue In The Country

Tuesday, 11th April 2017

Bangladesh Government does not tolerate any crime. This idea has been ratified by many international conventions in order to enhance the human rights condition of the country. 

The Government and National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh conveyed his deep concern toward the incident occurring to the Santal people at Gobindaganj in Gaibandha district.

Indigenous peoples of Bangladesh has contribute their significant effort during the liberation war, together with the Bengali people. As such, the land and other rights of indigenous people have to be protected. The High Court of Bangladesh has proved that human rights has been beyond the control by against the attacks on Santal people in Gaibandha.

Violence against women has been increasing day by day, caused by the loopholes within the initiatives and investigations. Perpetrators are easily escaping away and justice has been neglected. Each of the law enforcement bodies, such as Department of Women and Children Affairs and the Judiciary Department, should come forward to play a great role in reducing violence against women along with the Government of Bangladesh.

These issues were addressed during the discussion meeting entitled “Government Pledges and Situation of Indigenous Women and Girls” at the Daily Star Center, Dhaka, on 20 of Mach 2017.

Organized by ILC Member in Bangladesh, Kapaeeng Foundation (KF) and the Bangladesh Indigenous Women’s Network (BIWN), the meeting has brought several stakeholders as well to participate in the meeting.

Speaking in the meeting, Kazi Reazul Haque, Chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Bangladesh, Noted politician Shirin Akhter, Member of Parliament; Farida Yasmin, Deputy Commissioner of Head of Victim Support Center of Dhaka Metropolitan Police; Advocate Rakhi Das Purkayastha, Joint General Secretary, Bangladesh Mohila Parishad; Halima Begum of Department of Women Affairs;

One important note derived from the meeting was addressed by Women Affairs Department representative Halima Begu, saying that the Government has done many efforts in halting the violence against women, yet the dissemination of this kind information is quite low, which causing many women out there have no clue on what to do in avoiding violence, or how to respond on any violence actions against them. No report nor supporting evidences were able to be gathered among the society.

Shirin Akhter MP added that all types of violence against women must be monitored directly by the country. Many laws in preventing violence against women are existing, but very weak in implementation. This is the area where the government could focus on, she suggested.

At the end of the meeting, several recommendations emerged to overcome the mentioned challenges. Prof. Dr. Sadeka Halim’s recommendation was NHRC to build a database recording violence against women and demanded to take actions to reduce violence against women.

While in her keynote paper, BIWN Coordinator Falguni Tripura outlined the current state of human rights and pledges the government made through different UN treaties. She also shared an analysis of current state of indigenous women in Bangladesh. In the span of three years, human rights abuse on Adivasi women has doubled and the victims do not get justice from the police, court and civil administration. Falguni has said it may look that the number of crime inflicted upon Adivasi women and child are only 53 incidents, but the ratio in relations to national average is 5.7 percent, whereas the national population of indigenous peoples is only 1.8 percent. Indigenous women and girl victims do not get cooperation from the police, hospital doctors and local administration, which hinders from getting justice for the crime they suffered. Despite constitutional obligation of having reserved seats in national parliament and local government, indigenous women were not represented in Jatiya Sangsad and Local Government Councils, lamented Falguni Tripura of BIWN. The government needs to take stern actions against the perpetrators of the crimes to establish the rights of indigenous women and girls after determining the causes behind such violence, she demanded. Finally, concerning protection of indigenous women and girls from violence, Ms. Falguni Tripura recommended followings:

  • Establish the human rights of indigenous women.
  • Take immediate and proper actions to reduce violence against indigenous women and girls.
  • Ensure punishment of the alleged perpetrators of violence against indigenous women and girls.
  • Ensure commensurate compensation and rehabilitation of the victim.
  • Ensure proper medical and legal aid support for the victims.
  • Ensure effective and meaningful consultations with indigenous women prior to formulating policies concerning the development of women and keep a separate chapter for the indigenous women in the National Women Development Policy.
  • Implement the Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord 1997 fully and declare a time bound road map for implementation of the Accord.
  • Establish a separate land commission for the plains indigenous peoples.
  • Ensure education and health services for indigenous women.
  • Take special measures to reduce maternal and child mortality of indigenous peoples.
  • Ensure the rights of indigenous women in land and property and recognize the role of indigenous women in preserving the forests and natural resources.
  • Ensure quota for indigenous women in every sector and allowances for the widowed and elderly women.
  • Ensure indigenous women representative’s area wise in Parliament and Local Government.

Source of news: Kapaeeng Foundation

Photo credit by Kapaeeng Foundation