Shohel Chandra Hajang

Role: Programme Officer, Human Rights Campaign and Policy Advocacy at Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)


Active in Country: Thailand/Asia - Formerly Bangladesh
DTP Alumnus: 27th Annual Human Rights and People's Diplomacy Training - Timor-Leste 2017

 

As a DTP alumnus and Indigenous people's human rights defender, I can tell it is very important to organize this kind of training many times each year for human rights defenders. After having knowledge from DTP training, I am continuing to apply these to Indigenous communities, participants and my networks of Indigenous human rights defenders through facilitating workshops/trainings, documenting and reporting human rights cases.

Shohel Chandra Hajang is an alumnus of DTP's 27th Annual Human Rights and People's Diplomacy Training in Timor-Leste (2017). He belongs to the Hajong community, a marginalised Indigenous community in Bangladesh. Seeing the injustice and discrimination his community faced led him to work for an organisation which advocates for indigenous Peoples in this area. From there he went to work for Kapaeeng Foundation, one of DTP's partners in Bangladesh, that works at the national level to advocate for the rights of Indigenous peoples. Kapaeeng nominated Shohel for the DTP training.

Using the skills he picked up during his training with DTP, and from the network of leaders he met, he returned to work for Kapaeeng - working to improve the capacity of Indigenous youth and activists in his community, as well as to protect Indigenous women and children from violence and discrimination.

I have seen the Indigenous peoples of Bangladesh face many kinds of human rights violations including forcible evictions, killings, torture, land grabbing, false cases, violence against women, etc. The situation is remaining same almost every year. But now the change is in the Indigenous activists or defenders are becoming more aware of their rights.

Shohel's work involved conducting fact-finding and documentation of human rights violations in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and plains of Bangladesh.

The skills learned from the training helped me to go to the Indigenous peoples/victims, helping to build their capacity on advocacy and campaigning. It was great opportunity to thoroughly acquire knowledge about the Human Rights and United Nations Mechanism issues... The learning of video editing and video advocacy made my advocacy work stronger.

After attending the DTP training in 2017, I have been involved in handling many advocacies working on Indigenous rights and environmental violation issues in Bangladesh.

Since his training with DTP, Shohel has participated in the 11th and 12th sessions of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) in 2018 and 2019 respectively and the 39th session of the Human Rights Council on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Outcomes of Bangladesh in Geneva in September 2018.

Attending the DTP training was an opportunity for me to both understand the human rights mechanism and engage with the procedure; to participate in the practical exercise on advocacy and campaigning; and to extend my network at an international level... when I join to UN Indigenous and Human Rights Conference at international level, I felt happy to meet someone of our DTP networks. Moreover, when I meet any member of DTP Alumnus network anywhere, I see they always show the tendency to help each other.

Shohel also had particular success in lobbying the High Court in Bangladesh to immediately stop the illegal extraction of stones from Sangu and Matamuhuri in the Bandarban hill district. DTP's training helped him in this work.

At the end of 2019 Shohel was asked to join DTP's regional partner, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) as a Human Rights Programme Officer. He now has an important regional role working with a wide range of Asian Indigenous communities who are living in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Taiwan and Japan. Through AIPP's Human Rights Campaign and Policy Advocacy Program (HRCPA), Shohel assists Indigenous Peoples to engage with human rights mechanisms and processes at the national, regional and international levels including finalizing and submitting communications and petitions to relevant human rights mechanisms and processes at all levels.

 

Profile written February 2020.