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Australia Awards

Alumnus campaigning for the rights of indigenous peoples in Asia

17 Feb, 2021

In 2015, Shohel was the first person from his community to receive an Australia Awards Scholarship, and he went on to complete a Master of Development Practice from James Cook University in 2016. He has participated in several global human rights conferences, including the 27th Annual Human Rights and People’s Diplomacy Training Program for Human Rights Defenders. Australia Awards – Bangladesh supported Shohel’s participation in this training program in Timor-Leste in 2017 through an Informal Learning Opportunity.

Shohel belongs to the Hajong community of Bangladesh’s plain land. Since childhood, he has seen the challenges faced by marginalised communities such as the Hajong. For example, indigenous communities worldwide tend to be at higher risk from emerging infectious diseases compared to other populations. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic poses a disproportionate threat to indigenous peoples across the globe. It has the potential to exacerbate existing inequalities and amplify pre-existing barriers to health care, social services and key preventative measures. Such disparities—and other injustices against indigenous peoples—motivated Shohel to work in the human rights sector.

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This story was originally published on the Australia Awards – South Asia website.


Australia Awards – South Asia is managed by Scope Global on behalf of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


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