Programme for Promoting Human Rights of Ethnic Minorities

Project Duration: January 2008-June 2009
Supported by: Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD)

Under this project, News Network published a book titled’ ‘Ethnic Minorities in Bangladesh’. The book is comprised of profiles on different minority communities.

The main objective of publishing this book was to highlight the plight of the minority communities as their basic rights are denied in many ways. Frequent arson attacks and land grabbing made life difficult for them. Mahfuzur Rahman and Muhammed Abdur Rahman Jahangir two journalists of Bangladesh authored the book.

Through investigative writing, authors found the sufferings of the minorities were endless.  Literacy rate among the ethnic minorities are very negligible, as poverty keeps their kids away from school. Another barrier to their education is language. As

the ethnic minorities speak their mother tongues and follow their own cultures since birth, their introduction to Bengali and enrolment in schools take place late. That also delays their children’s first visit to school. Since the majority of ethnic minorities are illiterate, they have to work as farm labourers to earn their livelihoods. Poverty, malnutrition and unemployment are the common problems among the indigenous people.

The book mentioned the history of deprivation of the ethnic minorities is long. They suffered at each turn of historic events like British-introduced Permanent Settlement Act, division of India on the basis of two-nation theory, different racial riots, tri-division movement, Indo-Pak war and independence war of Bangladesh. Many of the ethnic minorities became landless during political and social changes brought about by these historical events.