Indigenous peoples


Key information about indigenous peoples


Indigenous population: The government refers 45 different indigenous communities; 13 groups from the plains and the CHT. According to the statistics there are about 2 million of indigenous peoples in Bangladesh (official data not found).

Total population of the country:  142.3 population (in million) according to the Census 2011. 2016 total population: 162.9 population (in millions) according to UNDP.

UNDRIP: not signed (abstained during the voting).

ILO 169: not endorsed.

Convention on Biological Diversity: signed: 05-06-1992; ratified: 03-05-1994; party: 01-08-1994

Indigenous Peoples in the constitution

Implicit recognition

The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Article 23A: “The State shall take steps to protect and develop the unique local cultureand tradition of the tribes, minor races, ethnic sects and communities”

National legislation


The East Bengal State Acquisition and Tenancy Act, 1950 [east bengal act no. xxviii of 1951] 16th may, 1951

Section 97, Restriction on alienation of land by aboriginals: ''The Government may from time to time, by notification, declare that the provisions of this section shall, in any district or local area, apply to such of the following aboriginal castes or tribes as may be specified in the notification, and that such castes or tribes shall be deemed to be aboriginals for the purposes of this section, and the publication of such notification shall be conclusive evidence that the provisions of this section have been duly applied to such castes or tribes, namely''.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts Accord of 1997, known as the CHT Accord (signed between the Government of Bangladesh and the indigenous party, the PCJSS6 )

The Accord recognizes the CHT as a “tribal inhabited”

Abstract: ''Under the framework of the constitution of Bangladesh and having fullest and firm confidence in the sovereignty and integrity of Bangladesh the national Committee on CHT Affairs, on behalf of the government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Parbattya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti, on behalf of the inhabitants of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, with an objective to elevate political, social, cultural, educational and financial rights and to expedite socio-economic development process of all citizens in CHT''.

The Chittagong Hill Tracts Regulation, 1900 (Regulation I of 1900)

Abstract: ''A regulation to declare the law applicable in, and provide for the administration of, the Chittagong Hill Tracts in 2 Bangladesh (Received the assent of the Governor-General on the 6th Jan., 1900; published in the Gazette of India on the 13th idem; and in the Calcutta Gazette on the 17th idem) WHEREAS it is expedient to declare the law applicable in, and provide for the administration of, the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh’’.

The CHT Development Board Ordinance (1976); The Hill District Council Acts (1989); The CHT Regional Council Act (1998)

The  Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission (Amendment) Act, 2016

Abstract: ''Implementation of provisions trough programmatic action remains lagging due to international treaty law is not part of municipal law that is directly enforceable in a court , and marginality of indigenous groups prevents effective monitoring of the implementation of the treaties committee consists of Judge of Bangladesh Supreme Court, chairman of CHTRC Regional Council or his representative, chairmen of the Zila Parishad of three hill districts, three circle Chiefs of CHT, Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong will be the members of the Commission''.

National institutions on Indigenous Peoples


Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs 

Mandate: the CHT commission is independent and fully committed to an approach of constructive engagement with all stakeholders in bangladesh. its mandate is as follows. to promote respect for human rights, democracy, and restoration of civil and political rights, participatory development and land rights in the chittagong hill tracts in bangladesh, including examination of the implementation of the cht peace accord of 1997. the cht commission will build on the work undertaken by the original cht commission between 1990 and 2001.

Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council

Mandate: Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council was formed in accordance with the chittagong hill tracts accord 1997 signed between the government of peoples’ republic of bangladesh and the parbatya chattagram jana samhati samiti (pcjss) on 2 december 1997. the chittagong hill tracts regional council formally started it functions since 27 may 1999 as per chittagong hill tracts regional council act 1998 (act 12 of 1998).  unless there are any different provisions in this act or regulations, the executive powers of the council shall vest in the chairman and these powers shall be exercised by the chairman directly or by any person empowered by him. there shall be a chief executive officer for the council and he shall be appointed from among the joint secretary level officers of the government. besides, there shall be two executive officers and four assistant executive officers in the cht regional council. the organogram of the cht regional council is composed with 73 officers and employees.

CHT Development Board (CHTDB)

Vision: Developed and prosperous Chittagong Hill Tracts. Mission: Development and promotion of communication, education, agriculture & irrigation, sports & culture, social welfare & integrated community improvement and empowerment through implementation of projects and schemes.

Hill District Councils (HDC):

Bandarban Hill District Council 

The Bandarban Local Govt. Council (now hill district council) was formed by the bandarban local govt. council ordinance, 1989 (act 21 of 1989).

Rangamati Hill District Council 

Vision: prosperous rangamati. Mission: Rangamati Hill District samunnatakaranera the fundamental rights of all citizens through the socio-economic conditions of the tribal janagosthisaha development. 

Khagrachhari Hill District Council 

Vision: Developed and prosperous khagrachari. Mission: Development of socio-economic condition and preservation of fundamental rights of all citizens of khagrachari hill district.

Free prior and informed consent



Special rapporteur & other key country reports


Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples in Asia, James Anaya, 2013.

Abstract: ''The present report provides an overview of the main issues raised during the consultation within each of the thematic areas. It also contains a series of overarching conclusions and recommendations on the basis of the information received. The report presents the issues brought to the attention of the Special Rapporteur in general terms, without pointing out specific country examples at this time. In the coming months, within the terms of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur intends to communicate directly with the relevant Governments about many of concerns raised during the consultation and request their views on these concerns. He also intends to issue corresponding observations and recommendations, based on the allegations received and any responses by the Governments concerned, noting positive developments and outstanding challenges''.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people in Asia, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, 2007.

Abstract: ''This report presents a general overview of the situation of the rights of indigenous peoples in Asia, based on the information gathered by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people from various sources during recent activities in the region, including activities organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia and Nepal, a follow-up visit to the Philippines, and the First Asian Regional Consultation with the Special Rapporteur, held in Phnom Penh in February 2007.  Indigenous peoples in Asian countries face similar patterns of discrimination and human rights violations as in other parts of the world. Drawing from specific examples in various Asian countries, the report focuses on issues of particular concern in the region, including the steady loss of indigenous lands, territories and natural resources; situations of internal conflict, violence and repression faced by these peoples; the implementation of peace accords and autonomy regimes; and the special abuses faced by indigenous women''.

ONU, Human Rights, country page - Bangladesh