Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders Network
The Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders (IPHRD) Network was initiated in July 30, 2010 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia with the objective to establish a platform for solidarity, coordination and support among indigenous human rights defenders and their organizations in Asia. The Network seeks to assist indigenous human rights defenders in Asia to promote and lobby the rights of indigenous peoples at national, regional and international human rights mechanisms and procedures effectively and collectively with other indigenous human rights defenders and organizations.
The Network was set up with support of the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) of the European Union (EU) under a project titled “Strengthening the Network of Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Asia”. The project aimed to strengthen the network for the promotion and protection of human rights of indigenous peoples in Asia. It involved collaboration among AIPP and its member and partner organizations in eight countries namely: Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines and Thailand. The project supported capacity building of community-based human rights defenders to be able to document human rights violations and undertake advocacy at the national, regional and international levels as well as enhancement of the organizational and financial management of the partner organizations. A dedicated IPHRD Fund was provided for urgent assistance to indigenous human rights defenders at risk to enable them to continue their human rights work.
AIPP has been coordinating the activities of the Network since the EIDHR project though in a reduced scale after the project. It has been providing the needed support to the indigenous human rights defenders and their organizations within the network, including in terms of technical and financial resources for capacity building and advocacy as well as for emergency assistance through the IPHRD funds.
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Some of the affiliate organizations of the IPHRD Network are as follows:
Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum (BIPF) or Bangladesh Adivasi Forum (called in Bengali), founded in 2001, is a national platform of indigenous peoples of Bangladesh. BIPF has composed of 79 national committee members, and 25 executive body members – representing the nine geographical regions of the country such as;
- CHT region
- The Northern region
- Greater Mymensingh
- Greater Sylhet
- Greater Dhaka
- Greater Khulna
- Chattagram region
- Greater Barisal and
- Greater Comilla region.
BIPF is dedicated to focusing the recognition of the rights of indigenous people in Bangladesh. The Forum brings the issues and views of indigenous peoples such as the rights of self-determination, land rights, women and youth rights as well as most crucial civil and political rights to the attention of the United Nations, Bangladesh Government, civil society organisations, academics, journalist and non-government organisations. BIPF’s mission is to assist indigenous communities in working for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and opportunities by implementing rights-based approaches.
Kapaeeng Foundation is a human rights organization, established in 2004 with the view to working for promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples of the country. The vision of Kapaeeng Foundation is to establish a society based on the values of justice, equity and freedom where fundamental freedoms and human rights of indigenous peoples are ensured. The mission of Kapaeeng Foundation are, among others, to promote and protect the human rights of the indigenous peoples of the country and to conduct advocacy, lobby and campaign programme for the same at local, national, regional and international level; to establish a strong network and partnership with national, regional and international organizations and individuals working on the promotion and protection of human rights as well as indigenous peoples rights and to raise the capacity of the indigenous peoples in promoting and protecting human rights. In 2011, Kapaeeng Foundation has established an Indigenous Human Rights Defenders Network in Bangladesh.
Trinamul Unnayan Sangstha (TUS) is an organization for community development based in Chittagong Hill Tracts which was established in 1997 by a group of dedicated social activists. TUS is now a leading local NGO in Khagrachari District of Bangladesh, and have experience in undertaking a range of short and long-term projects on livelihoods, water and sanitation, hygiene education and practices, primary health care, malnutrition, good governance, and education issues. Its Vision is ‘To establish a society based on the values of social justice, equity, and freedom, in which all people have full and effective participation in the development process’. The mission is ‘To build up the capacity of grassroots communities, especially the disadvantaged and marginalized communities of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, towards improving their livelihoods and addressing other socio-economic issues in a participatory approach’.