Bangladesh’s hill tribes get special attention from the UN 

The area is home to 11 tribes that have lived for generations in these mountains.
Updated 26 October 2018
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Bangladesh’s hill tribes get special attention from the UN 

  • The UN's Development Program and the Asian Development Bank join hands to promote bio-diversity conservation and community cohesion for tribes. 
  • Preservation of indigenous mother tongue among other measures adopted for the hill community. 

DHAKA: “Life in the hills is very tough. We need to work hard to maintain the livelihood here since challenges are there in every step, like agriculture, health, education etc,” says Nelson Mro, 27, an indigenous inhabitant of Bandarban district in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

Mro is one of more than a million people living in the CHT, in the southern part of Bangladesh. The area is home to 11 tribes that have lived for generations in these mountains. Some of the popular tribal communities of the CHT are Chakma, Tripura, Marma, Mro, and Bom.

“In my childhood, I did not get any proper facility to learn or go to school. There were not even adequate health facilities available in the villages but things have changed a lot over the recent years,” Mro said while working at his coffee shop in the Faruk Para area of Bandarban district.

Now in every community there are primary schools and government-run clinics to address mother and child health care, he said.

Professor Dr. Mesbah Kamal, a member of the Indigenous Parliamentary Caucus and a CHT expert, said: “Our government is keen to develop the life of the hill people. Since 2017, we have introduced education to promote indigenous mother tongues in primary schools to protect the languages of the 3 tribes of CHT.”

He added: “We still have a long way to go since another eight tribal languages need to be introduced at primary education level.” 

He warned that the environment has become a growing concern in CHT because of the massive deforestation that has taken place in the recent years.

“We have noticed that many of the waterfalls have gone dry recently due to indiscriminate stone mining from the hills. These waterfalls are a major source of drinking water for the tribal community and we need to work immediately to restore this natural water source,” said Kamal.

In this context, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have teamed up with new fund to promote sustainable management of community development in CHT, which will ease the hardships of the tribal people living in these areas. 

According to the arrangement signed on Tuesday, the ADB will provide $471,000 to UNDP to implement technical assistance project entitled “Sustainable Management of Community Development for Chittagong Hill Tracts.”

UNDP Bangladesh Country Director, Sudipto Mukerjee, said: “Currently, we are working on livelihood, natural resource management, bio-diversity conservation and community cohesion among the tribal people. With the support of this new fund, both tribal and non-tribal communities will have access to more inclusive economic and livelihood opportunities and have improved capabilities to manage the environment.”

At the moment, the UNDP is working in CHT in collaboration with Bangladesh’s Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs under the program titled “Strengthening Inclusive Development in Chittagong Hill Tracts,” which will be continued until December 2021.

“Our program in CHT aims at increased civic participation and engagement among communities, which will provide the basis to build social capital and citizenship awareness in the population and deepen participation in decision-making,” added Mukerjee.

He mentions that the increased ability of institutions to respond to local priorities in the delivery of services, in justice and security sectors, and on land issues to provide accountability and legitimacy, will “further strengthen links, between public services and the local populace.” 


Trump lawyer attacks Mueller report, sees nothing wrong in taking Russian info

Updated 7 min 15 sec ago
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Trump lawyer attacks Mueller report, sees nothing wrong in taking Russian info

  • The special counsel declined to bring charges, however, and Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump appointee, said that cleared the president
WASHINGTON: Donald Trump’s top lawyer on Sunday attacked “calumny, lies and distortions” in the Mueller investigation report, and said there is “nothing wrong” with taking hacked information from Russia.
Rudy Giuliani mounted a combative defense of the president in Sunday talk show appearances that took aim at Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators, the evidence they amassed and the witnesses they cited.
The former New York mayor heaped special scorn on Senator Mitt Romney, a former Republican presidential candidate who said Friday he was “sickened” by the report’s findings and “appalled” that Trump’s election campaign “welcomed help from Russia.”
“What a hypocrite. What a hypocrite. Any candidate in the whole world in America would take information,” Giuliani said of Romney on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
He was referring to Democratic emails that were hacked by Russian operatives and disseminated by WikiLeaks in 2016 to hurt Trump presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
“Who says it’s even illegal?” Giuliani added. “Does the information turn out to be false, by the way? The information that was gleaned and disseminated, every newspaper printed it.”
Trump publicly encouraged Russia and WikiLeaks while top campaign officials, including his son and son-in-law, met in Trump Tower with a Russian promising dirt on Clinton.
“There is nothing wrong with taking information from the Russians. It depends on where it came from,” Giuliani said, adding that as a lawyer he would have advised against it.
“This didn’t become an international scandal because of immorality. It became an international scandal because the president was accused of violating the law falsely,” he said.
His comments echoed Trump, who mocked Romney on Twitter Sunday, after lashing out Friday at the “bullshit” Mueller report. The president was in Palm Beach, Florida where he attended Easter services.

The special counsel’s 22-month-long investigation concluded that Trump and his team did not collude with the Russian effort to sway the elections in his favor.
But it detailed 10 episodes of potential obstruction by Trump, including his firing of FBI director James Comey and demands that Mueller himself be removed.
The special counsel declined to bring charges, however, and Attorney General Bill Barr, a Trump appointee, said that cleared the president.
Democrats, who have a majority in the House of Representatives, now are considering whether to move to impeach the president, an effort likely to fail because Republicans control the Senate.
“We will have to decide, do we nonetheless go through an impeachment — because to do otherwise would signal that somehow this president’s conduct is okay, that future presidents can engage in this kind of corruption without consequence — or do we decide that we are better off doing oversight ... rather than a formal impeachment?” Representative Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“That’s going to be a very consequential decision” and one that would be made “over the next couple weeks,” he said.
Representative Jerry Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, equivocated when asked on NBC about impeachment. “We may get to that, we may not,” he said, adding that lawmakers needed first to “go through all the evidence.”
So far, only two of the 18 declared Democratic presidential candidates — Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Obama cabinet member Julian Castro — have called for impeachment.

The White House’s strategy, meanwhile, was on bristling display in Giuliani’s talk show appearances: attack the investigators as biased and the witness testimony as self-serving and untruthful.
Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Giuliani called the report “a prosecutor’s version of what happened.”
“It’s two or three pages of calumny, lies and distortion,” he said. “Half of it is not true.”
Some of the most damaging episodes detailed in the report came from former White House counsel Don McGahn, who described to investigators Trump’s escalating demands that Mueller be removed.
McGahn refused to do so and threatened to resign but was talked out of it.
“I’m telling you he’s confused. He gave three different versions,” Giuliani said on CNN.
The White House has prepared a rebuttal of the Mueller report but has yet to release it.
“We’re ready to put it out when we have to,” the president’s lawyer said.