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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Does UNDP has the right to impose identity?

Does UNDP has the right to impose identity?

Following is the report from Bangladeshi daily "New Age" : http://newagebd.com/newspaper1/national/39829.html

Minority leaders indignant at UNDP’s misuse of terms


‘Indigenous peoples’ is the correct term, says Devashish

Rights organisation Kapaeeng Foundation expressed deep concern over the use of the terms ‘ethnic minorities’, ‘small ethnic groups’ and ‘tribal’ in the advertisements of UNDP Bangladesh in various national dailies.

The organisation, in an email, also alleged that the UNDP, by publishing such an advertisement, not only violates the indigenous people’s rights but also undermines the UN’s Policy of Engagement with Indigenous Peoples and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

These observations were a reaction to the publication of the advertisement of the Cultural Diversity Festival 2011, organised by the Chittagong Hill Tracts Development Facility, UNDP Bangladesh.
This year the UNDP-CHTDF used terms such as ‘ethnic minorities’, ‘small ethnic groups’ and ‘tribal’ in its advertisement, although it had used the term ‘indigenous people’ in advertisements of previous cultural diversity festivals for the last four years.

The festival is likely to begin from December 3.

Rabindranath Soren, chairperson of Kapaeeng Foundation, said in the email that such a stance taken by the government is meant to suppress the rights of self-identification of the peoples of the national minorities.

The minority leaders also said that an international organisation like the UNDP has shown ‘disrespect’ towards the indigenous peoples of Bangladesh by using such derogatory terms.

They also pointed out that the UNDP has used terms like ‘ethnic minorities’, ‘small ethnic groups’ and ‘tribal’ as they are used by the present government.

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Asia region’s member, Raja Devashish Roy, who is the Chakma circle chief, told New Age that an international institution like the UNDP should use ‘acceptable terms’. ‘Only the terms which are acceptable to the people they are referring to should be used.’

‘The Constitution does not contain the term “indigenous people” but it does not mean that international organisations cannot use the term. There is no such term like “small ethnic peoples” in the international laws including the UNDRIP,’ Devashish added.

Pointing out Davashish’s membership in the UNPFII, the Bangladesh Adivasi Forum’s general secretary, Sanjeeb Drong, said, ‘If there are no indigenous peoples in Bangladesh, then how come Raja Devashish Roy is a representative of the UNPFII?’

He expressed his indignation and said that the UNDP Bangladesh has indirectly denied the existence of the national minority peoples in Bangladesh.

‘We have been demanding due recognition since the time this government planned to amend the Constitution. Everywhere around the world the UNDP uses the term “indigenous people” irrespective of the term the governments use. The UNDP Bangladesh should have used the international term, particularly when they were referring to us,’ Sanjeeb added.


courtesy: The New Age

Kapaeeng Foundation also expressed its deep concern regarding this issue, which could be viewed here:


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