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Publications of the Moment

Recognizing August 9, 2011 as
International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
the BDRC provides

a list of recent publications related to indigenous people in Bangladesh
some links to resources, recent news and additional information

I. List of recent publications (on indigenous people in Bangladesh)

  • Ahmed, Kawser (2010) “Defining 'Indigenous' in Bangladesh: International Law in Domestic Context”,
    International Journal on Minority and Group Rights, Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 47-73.
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) (2008) Bangladesh: Second Urban Governance and Infrastructure
    Improvement (Sector) Project (Manila, The Philippines: Asian Development Bank (ADB), Indigenous
    Peoples Planning Document, Draft for Review, January).
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) (2010) BAN: Second Crop Diversification Project (Manila, The Philippines:
    Asian Development Bank (ADB), Indigenous People's Development Planning Document, Project No.
    40534-01 (January) Draft).
  • Bal, Ellen (2007) “Becoming the Garos of Bangladesh: Policies of Exclusion and the Ethnicisation of a
    ‘Tribal’ Minority”, South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 30, No. 3 (December), pp. 439-455.
  • Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human Rights (BSEHR) (2008) Legal and human rights of
    ethnic minorities in Bangladesh (Dhaka, Bangladesh: Bangladesh Society for the Enforcement of Human
    Rights (BSEHR)).
  • Chakma, Mangal Kumar; Pallab Chakma; and Makfie Farah (2009) “A Brief Account of the Human Rights
    Situation of the Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh”, in: Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) Foundation
    (ed.) Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights Report in Asia 2008: Bangladesh - Burma - Lao (Chiang Mai,
    Thailand: Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) Foundation), pp. 12-61.
  • Chowdhury, Afsan (2010) “Hindus in a Polarised Political Environment: Bangladesh’s Minority”, in: Rita
    Manchanda (ed.) States in Conflict with Their Minorities -- Challenges to Minority Rights in South Asia
    (New Delhi and Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications), Chapter 4.
  • Erni, Christian (2008) Concept of indigenous peoples in Asia : a resource book (Copenhagen, Denmark:
    International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)).
  • Fredlund, Jessie (2007) “Indigenous women overcome multiple obstacles”, Geneva, Switzerland:
    International Labor Office, World of Work, No. 59 (April), pp. 8-11; available at: http://www.ilo.
  • Geiger, Danilo (2008) Frontier encounters: indigenous communities and settlers in Asia and Latin America
    (Copenhagen, Denmark: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)).
  • Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh (GoB), Ministry of Local Government, Rural
    Development and Cooperatives--Local Government Engineering Department (2008) Preparing the
    Participatory Small-Scale Water Resources Project III (Manila, The Philippines: Asian Development Bank
    (ADB), Indigenous Peoples Development Planning Document (Draft), Project No. 39432 (October)).
  • Gunter, Bernhard G.; Atiq Rahman; and A. F. M. Ataur Rahman (2008) “How Vulnerable are Bangladesh’s
    Indigenous People to Climate Change?”, Falls Church, VA, USA: Bangladesh Development Research
    Center (BDRC), Bangladesh Development Research Working Paper Series (BDRWPS), BDRWPS No. 1
    (April); available at: http://www.bangladeshstudies. org/files/WPS_no1-rev2.pdf.
  • Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (2009) Bangladesh: Indigenous people and religious minorities
    still affected by displacement (Geneva, Switzerland: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC),
    Norwegian Refugee Council, July); available at:
  • International Labour Office (2009) The ILO Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Populations, 1957 (No.
    107) and the laws of Bangladesh: a comparative review (Geneva, Switzerland: International Labour Office
  • Islam, Kabirul (2010) Indigenous People of Bangladesh (Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Viewbook B.V.;
    Photostory 2010); available at:
  • Jamil, Ishtiaq and Pranab Kumar Panday (2008) “The Elusive Peace Accord in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of
    Bangladesh and the Plight of the Indigenous People”, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, Vol. 46,
    No. 4, pp. 464-489.
  • Kabir, Mohammed Mahbubul (2009) "Let's go back to go forward" : history and practice of schooling in the
    indigenous communities in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh (Tromsø, Norway: University of Tromsø,
    Master's thesis in indigenous studies).
  • Manchanda, Rita (ed.) (2010) States in Conflict with Their Minorities -- Challenges to Minority Rights in
    South Asia (New Delhi, India and Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Sage Publications).
  • Minority Rights Group International (2008) World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples -
    Bangladesh: Adivasis (London, United Kingdom: Minority Rights Group International); available at: http:
  • Mohsin, Amena (2010) “Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh: Justice denied”, in: Rita Manchanda (ed.)
    States in Conflict with Their Minorities -- Challenges to Minority Rights in South Asia (New Delhi and
    Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications), Chapter 5.
  • Oxfam GB (2008) “Finding a Voice for the Voiceless: Indigenous people gain recognition in Bangladesh”,
    in: Oxfam GB (ed.) Speaking Out: How the voices of poor people are shaping the future (London, UK:
    Oxfam GB).
  • Rahman, M. Ashiqur (2007) “Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord in Bangladesh: Reconciling the Issues of
    Human Rights, Indigenous Rights and Environmental Governance”, in: M. Faizul Islam and Syed Saad
    Andaleeb (eds.) Development Issues of Bangladesh-III: Human Development and Quality of Life (Dhaka,
    Bangladesh: University Press Ltd.), pp. 355-378.
  • Sarker, Profulla and Gareth Davey (2009) “Exclusion of indigenous children from primary education in the
    Rajshahi Division of northwestern Bangladesh”, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Vol. 13, No. 1
    (February), pp. 1-11.
  • Singh, Deepak K. (2010) Stateless in South Asia --The Chakmas between Bangladesh and India (New
    Delhi, India and Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Sage Publications).
  • Taneja, Preti (ed.) and Felix Corley, Jared Ferrie, David Fickling and Farah Mihlar (section authors)
    (2010) State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2010 - Events of 2009 ( London, United
    Kingdom: Minority Rights Group International (July)), especially pp. 114-116.
  • World Bank (2008) Bangladesh - indigenous/tribal population and access to secondary schools (draft),
    Washington, DC, USA: World Bank, Report No. IPP280 (Indigenous Peoples Plan, April).
  • World Bank (2011) Bangladesh - Integrated Agricultural Development Project : indigenous peoples
    planning framework (Washington, DC, USA: World Bank, Indigenous Peoples Plan, IPP509; May 1).
II. Further internet resources (on indigenous people in Bangladesh)

  • Indigenous People of Bangladesh (Photostory by Islam, Kabirul)

  • Bangladesh website of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) at:

  • Bangladesh website of Oxfam Australia at:

  • Strengthening Education with Indigenous Languages in Bangladesh: Video Report

  • World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples (Updated May 2008)

III. Some Basic Information on Indigenous People in Bangladesh
(as provided at Virtual Bangladesh)
Note: The numbers provided may be out of date and should be considered to be indicative only.

Bangladesh’s tribal population consists of about 1 million people, just under 1 percent of
the total population. They live primarily in the Chittagong Hills and in the regions of
Mymensingh, Sylhet, and Rajshahi. The majority of the tribal population (778,425) live in
rural settings, where many practice shifting cultivation. Most tribal people are of
SinoTibetan descent and has distinctive Mongoloid features. They differ in their social
organization, marriage customs, birth and death rites, food, and other social customs
from the people of the rest of the country. They speak Tibeto-Burman languages. In the
mid-1980s, the percentage distribution of tribal population by religion was Hindu 24,
Buddhist 44, Christian 13, and others 19.

The four largest tribes are the Chakmas, Marmas (or Maghs), Tipperas (or Tipras), and
Mros (or Moorangs). The tribes tend to intermingle and could be distinguished from one
another more by differences in their dialect, dress, and customs than by tribal cohesion.
Only the Chakmas and Marmas display formal tribal organization, although all groups
containe distinct clans. By far the largest tribe, the Chakmas are of mixed origin but
reflect more Bengali influence than any other tribe. Unlike the other tribes, the Chakmas
and Marmas generally live in the highland valleys. Most Chakmas are Buddhists, but
some practiced Hinduism or animism.