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(i) Seminar on “Human Rights and Land Rights of Indigenous Women”

With the initiative of ALRD since 2002 through organizing training for the Headman and Karbari of the CHT on their duties and responsibilities and land management system of the CHT, the Network of CHT Women Headman and Karbari was formed in 2015 after formulation of the Network of CHT Headman and Karbari Association in 2011. It was formed with 140 women Karbari of Rangamati district and 12 Headman from three CHT districts. Appointing women in the positions of Headman and Karbari in the CHT will play important role to protect human rights and empowerment of women.

The activities of ALRD is ongoing in CHT in this regard, to nursing the network of Women Headman and Karbari on women rights, ALRD organized jointly a seminar titled “Human Rights and Land Rights of Indigenous Women” at Rangamati with the Women Headman and Karbari Network on March 8, 2016 to celebrate the  International Women's Day 2016. The seminar is supported by the ILC. It is first time for the CHT Women Headman and Karbari Network to organize such a event in their banner.

A key note paper was presented by the Mangal Kumar Chakma, Advisor, Kapaeeng Foundation, in the seminar. Panel discussants were Ms Nirupa Dewan, Member of National Human Rights Commission; Kalpana Chakma, Women Affairs editor, Hill Women Federation, Rangamati; Tuku Talukder, Chairman, Himawanti, Rangamati; and Rowshan Jahan Moni, Deputy Executive Director of ALRD. The chief guest was Ms Yan Yan, Queen of Chakma Circle and the seminar was presided over by Joya Tripura, Secretary of Women Headman and Karbari Network.   

The seminar addressed that women are the worst victims of any land related disputes. The discussants said land grabbing is rampant in CHT and the land grabbers sexually and physically violated ethnic minority women and girls in a bid to terrorize the community before grabbing their land. Human rights of IP women are in peril. Besides, IP women are hard worker, their contribution in the livelihood is equal like men though their economic value is absent in the society for their reproductive work. IP women are directly involved in shifting cultivation, weaving, collecting forest resource and water from the far stream, etc. But their land right is ignored in the traditional customary practices. Women headman and karbari network demanded recognition of their reproductive work and land rights.

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Shamsul Huda
Executive Director
Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD)
House # 1/3, Block # F, Lalmatia
Dhaka # 1207
Bangladesh
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