Chittagong Hill Tracts: Give Indigenous Laws a Legal Cover
Traditional and customary 'laws' followed by indigenous people in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) should be given some sort of legal cover to ensure their access to justice, CHT Regional Council Chairman Jyotirindriya Bodhipriyo Larma alias Santu Larma has said.
Laws in the hill, inhabited by indigenous people of different cultures and traditions, should be in conformity with the realities, he said while addressing a seminar titled "Personal and Family Laws of Indigenous Peoples of CHT", held at the RHDC auditorium here on Thursday.
It was organised by Kapo Seba Sangha (KSS) and Manusher Jonno, two NGOs.
The workshop marked launching of a programme by the two NGOs to put in black and white all traditional and customary laws of indigenous people in the hills.
The government should realise the reality and come forward to preserve these conventions and traditional practices in the interest of maintaining peace and harmony, Santu Larma said.
On woman's rights, he said their rights are often violated in a male dominated society. "Personally, I believe in equality of man and woman in the eye of law".
Woman enjoy one forth share of paternal properties In Bandarban, but they are deprived in Rangamati and Khagrachhari, he mentioned.
With Chakma Circle Chief Raja Devashish Roy in the chair, the workshop was addressed by representatives of all the 11 ethnic communities in CHT, civil society members and political leaders.
Other speakers suggested that the issue should be discussed at a joint meeting of the three Hill District Councils (HDCs) and the CHT Regional Council (CHTRC).
The seminar also discussed the findings of a of one-year study on the traditional and customary laws. Advocate Protim Roy Pampu, a member of three-member research team which conducted the study, presented the keynote paper in this regard.
Rangamati Hill District Council Chairman Dr maniklal Dewan said the Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs and the CHT Regional Council can play a vital role to protect rights of indigenous people.
The seminar was addressed by, among others, former chairman of Rangamati
local government council Goutam Dewan, Nirmolendu Tripura, Ching Keu Roaza,
Rangamati Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md. Mohiuddin, Manusher Jonno Programme
Manager Wasiur Rahman Tanmoy and Tuku Talukder, Co-ordinator of Bangladesh
chapter of HIMAWANTI.