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Wildlife Act passed in the parliament, indigenous leaders spark into reaction
8 July 2012 the Jatiya Sangsad (Parliament) adopted the Wildlife
(Protection and Safety) Act 2012 without having consultations with and
opinions of Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council and indigenous
peoples of the country. Indigenous leaders, environmentalists and rights
bodies expressed deep concern over some provisions of the Act.
the adoption of the Wildlife (Protection and Safety) Act 2012 bill in
the parliament on 8 July, Environment and Forest Minister Hasan Mahmud
said that the government consulted with indigenous leaders during the
formulation of the Act. However, indigenous leaders alleged that the
government did not organise any effective consultation with indigenous
peoples of the country.
of the CHT Forest and Land Rights Protection Movement Goutam Dewan said
that earlier the government held a meeting with few indigenous leaders
including him in Dhaka. But at that meeting, they opined that they were
not representing all indigenous peoples, hence they urged government to
organse a wide-range consultation with indigenous peoples including
representatives of CHT Regional Council (CHTRC) and rights bodies
working for environment. But the government did not hear their
recommendations, he alleged.
Raja Barrister Devasish Roy said the government enacted the Wildlife
Act without going through related laws in other countries and this would
cause the people of the forest regions to lose their rights (The Daily Star, Monday, July 9, 2012).
newly adopted Wildlife Act would affect the rights of people dependent
on forests including indigenous peoples. The Act did not ensure the
forest people's rights regarding occupations, traditions and
Talukdar, member of the CHTRC said that the government did not seek
opinions and suggestions from the CHTRC before the Wildlife Act was
placed in the parliament. It is mentionable that Section 53 of the CHT
Regional Council Act 1998 stipulates that the Government if it initiates
to make any law concerning the CHTRC or the CHT shall take necessary
measures for making the law in consultation with the CHTRC and the
concerned Hill District Council and after by considering the advice of
the Council. However, the government did not send the draft bill to the
Human Rights Commission Chairman Mizanur Rahman urged stakeholders
concerned of the country's forests to submit their objections on the
Wildlife (Preservation) Act, 2012 to the commission. “I myself will
forward the objections, alongside the commission's recommendations on
removing the inconsistencies, to the speaker, standing committee on
forest and even to the prime minister,” he said (The Daily Star, Monday, July 9, 2012).
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