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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

Indigenous Peoples’ Voices on Biodiversity: Mr. Devashis Roy – Bangladesh

The message of Mr. Devashis Roy, the Chief of Chakma Circle (the Chakma Raja) from Bangladesh on the celebration of the International Day for Biological Diversity.

Jhoo! My name is Devashish Wangza, Devasish Roy.

I am the Head or Chief of the Chakma People in the Chittagong Hill Tracts region of Bangladesh. My People are Chakma, also known generically with the others as Jumma.

We Jumma Peoples have traditionally engaged in upland-swidden agriculture for hundreds of years, which is combined with keeping forest fallows. The grounds left fallow regenerate into a forest again. Along with that, we have other community forests left purely for conservation, family use, and clan use.
We have customary laws, spiritual traditions, deities, and gods of spirituality, and along with these are taboos, about how we maintain our ecoscapes, our lands, forest, and water bodies.

And our customary laws I mentioned, but unfortunately our customary laws in our region, statutory laws are in conflict with National Laws and National Forest regimes. Unfortunately, our government sets aside reserved forests or national parks and sanctuaries. But they are in disconnect with our customary laws and they exclude our Indigenous Peoples and often drive them away from their traditional lands.

We seek support from governments and the international system to ensure that the Bangladeshi forest and protected areas regimes and management systems are in accord with the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, and customary laws of the Indigenous Peoples.

Thank you. Jhoo!