Inclusion in national development during the COVID-19 outbreak

International Indigenous Day is observed on 9 August every year. To commemorate the day, Prothom Alo and Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD) held a virtual roundtable on 8 August titled ‘International Indigenous Day: Inclusion in National Development During the Outbreak of COVID-19’.

Participants in the rountable:

Fazle Hossain Badsha, MP: Convener, Parliamentary Caucus on Indigenous Peoples

Rani Yan Yan: Human Rights Activist, Rangamati

Syed Abul Maksud: Researcher and Writer

Sadeka Halim: Professor; Dean, Social Sciences, University of Dhaka

Sanjeeb Drong: General Secretary, Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum

Khushi Kabir: Coordinator, Nijera Kori, Chairperson, ALRD

Goutam Dewan: President, Chittagong Hill Tracts Citizens Committee

Shamsul Huda: Executive Director, ALRD

Rabindranath Soren: President, Jatiya Adivasi Parishad

Rowshan Jahan Moni: Deputy Executive Director, ALRD

Abdul Quayum (Introductory presentation): Associate Editor, Prothom Alo

Firoz Choudhury (Moderator): Assistant Editor, Prothom Alo

A summary of the presentations by the participants follows:

Abdul Quayum, associate editor, Prothom Alo: The UN has declared 9 August as ‘International Indigenous Day’ and we are holding this virtual talk to commemorate this day. Chakma, Marma, and Tripura of the Hill Tracts, Garo, Hajong, Santal including others from the plain land and the other ethnicities have been facing different barriers to the development of their livelihood status. During the outbreak of COVID-19, these problems have increased. We have to think about how to ensure inclusive development where these problems will be duly addressed. That is what the experts will discuss today.

The key point of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is we cannot leave anybody behind. And to achieve that goal, we have to work together, that that includes the marginal ethnicities from both hills and plains.

Rowshan Jahan Moni, deputy executive director, ALRD: As every year, this year too we are observing 9 August ias ‘International Indigenous Day’. Our ethnic minorities live with different challenges. COVID-19 has made this situation worse. They are living like marginal people even in the age of globalisation.

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