Indigenous Peoples situation of Bangladesh (2012)

Binota Dhamai, Sanjeeb Drong

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    The majority of Bangladesh’s 143.3 million people are Bengalis, and approximately 3 million are indigenous peoples belonging to at least 45 different ethnic groups. These peoples are concentrated in the north, and in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in the south-east of the country. In the CHT, the indigenous peoples are commonly known as Jummas for their common practice of swidden cultivation (crop rotation agriculture) locally known as jum. A 2011 amendment to the constitution refer to the indigenous peoples of Bangladesh as ‘tribes’, ‘minor races’ and ‘ethnic sects and communities’. Bangladesh has ratified ILO Convention No 107 on Indigenous and Tribal Populations but abstained when the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was up for voting in the General Assembly in 2007. Indigenous peoples remain among the most persecuted of all minorities, facing discrimination not only on the basis of their religion and ethnicity but also because of their indigenous identity and their socio-economic status. In the CHT, the indigenous peoples took up arms in defence of their rights in 1976. In December 1997, the civil war ended with a ‘Peace’ Accord between the Government of Bangladesh and the Parbattya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS, United People’s Party of CHT), which led the resistance movement. The Accord recognizes the CHT as a “tribal inhabited” region, its traditional governance system and the role of its chiefs, and provides building blocks for indigenous self-determination. The CHT Accord, however, remains largely unimplemented which has resulted in continued widespread human rights violations, violent conflicts and military control.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Indigenous World 2012
    EditorsCaecilie Mikkelsen
    Place of PublicationCopenhagen
    PublisherInternational Work Group for Indigenous Affairs
    ISBN (Print)9788792786159
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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