A three day South Asia training seminar on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights : Promotion and Implementation of ILO Convention No.169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), was held at the Brac Centre for Resource and Management (BCDM), Rajendrapur from 11th -13th November, 2009. The programme, supported by ILO and UNDP, was organized by the Thailand based, Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples’ Forum (BIPF).
The training seminar was inaugurated by the Chairman of the Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council, Mr Jyotindra Bodhipriya Larma (Santu Larma). Among other, Mr Abul Hossain, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tract Affairs; Mr Gagan Rajbandari, Deputy Director, ILO-Dhaka; Ms Chandra Roy, Coordinator, UNDP’ Regional Indigenous Peoples Programme (RIPP); Mr. Sanjeeb Drong, General Secretary of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples’ Forum and Ms Joan Carling, Secretary General, Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) spoke at the inaugural session.
Over 60 participants from government and indigenous peoples’ organizations from India, Nepal and Bangladesh took part in the training. Participants received training on key aspects relating to the implementation of indigenous peoples rights in South Asia, including consultation, participation and consent; land and natural resources; self-government; peace-building; constitutional reform; cross boarder contacts and government responsibilities vis-à-vis rights and duties laid out in the two international instruments under discussion – ILO Convention No. 169 and UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
This training was the first of its kind to be held in Bangladesh and provided affirmation of the Government of Bangladesh and ILO’s commitment to working for the promotion and implementation of the rights of country’s indigenous peoples. The training also provided a platform for exchange of experiences from South Asian countries and inspiration was drawn from the delegation from Nepal, who ratified ILO Convention No. 169 in 2007, being the first South Asian country to do so and are now in the process of incorporating key provisions contained within Convention No 169 and UNDRIP into their new constitution.
The training participants recommended strengthening the capacity of indigenous people and their organizations to decide their own priorities for the process of development; engaging them in meaningful participation at all levels of policy, legislative and administrative processes affecting indigenous peoples and holding continuous dialogues between the government and the indigenous people with mutual trust and good faith.