Indigenous Peoples both in Bangladesh and Indonesia are fighting for their rights

Charu Bikash Tripura from Bangladesh and Mona Sofia Yanthi Sihombing from Indonesia talk about indigenous Peoples' fight for their rights.


Bangladesh is home to more than 54 indigenous peoples who speak at least 35 languages. According to the 2011 census conducted by the Government of Bangladesh, the country's indigenous population comprises approximately 1,586,141, 1.8% of the country's total population. However, indigenous peoples in Bangladesh claim that their population is approximately 5 million.

The land rights of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh continue to be one of the alarming issues and a key factor in serious human rights violations in the country. Indigenous peoples' organizations have protested against the growing number of human rights violations and demand protection, promotion and respect for their human rights.

Although the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Agreement was a constructive agreement between the indigenous peoples and the Government of Bangladesh, after 19 years, the main problems of the Agreement remain unresolved. Indigenous peoples still face challenges in areas such as the return of power and functions to the Chittagong Hill Tracts institutions, the preservation of the characteristics of the tribal area of ​​the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, the demilitarization and rehabilitation of the internally displaced.


Indonesia is the home of an estimated 50 to 70 million indigenous peoples. The national organization of indigenous peoples, Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), estimates that the number of indigenous peoples in Indonesia is between 50 and 70 million people. Indigenous peoples in Indonesia increasingly suffer from criminalization and violence, often related to investments in indigenous territories. Although Indonesia is a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), government officials argue that the concept of indigenous peoples is not applicable, since almost all Indonesians (with the exception of the Chinese) ) are indigenous and have the right to the same rights As a result, the government has rejected calls for the specific needs of groups that identify themselves as indigenous.

Violence and criminalization of indigenous peoples continue. There has been no significant effort to systematically stop acts of violence against indigenous peoples. In addition, the management of cases of violence and criminalization of indigenous peoples became more complicated in 2016, especially with the appearance of new types of conflicts related to infrastructure and dams, and the most obvious military intervention in such violence and criminalization.

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