Many human rights activists have called for international recognition and awareness of the genocide of Bengalis in Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan, in 1971 by the Pakistani army, Global Human Rights Defense informed ( GHRD). An event was organized on the sidelines of the 54th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) by Global Human Rights Defense, an international non-governmental organization based in The Hague, Netherlands.
Discussing the genocide of Bengalis in Bangladesh, then known as East Pakistan, in 1971 by the Pakistani army, the event began with a brief introduction of the issue at hand. With the aim of raising awareness and ensuring justice for the victims, the speakers provided their expert views on the issue from different angles. With the presence of delegations including the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Belgium and the European Union (EU), this event reached a global audience with over 80 participants in attendance and many more spectators online, adds the press release.
To begin, GHRD President Shradhanand Sital delivered introductory remarks that reminded the room of the promise made in 1945 of “never again” after World War II. Despite this, such horrific crimes continue to occur time and again all over the world, including in Rwanda, the Balkans and Bangladesh, without justice or reconciliation for the victims. He ultimately called for this issue to be the top priority of NGOs and UN members. Next, Harry van Bommel, Dutch politician and human rights activist, presented the findings of the fact-finding mission that visited Bangladesh in May 2023. After speaking directly with victims and researchers of this genocide, he spoke with a 90-year-old woman who was a witness. the killing of 43 people in his village by the Pakistani army. He said that the extensive evidence of such crimes can lead to the conclusion that there was a genocide in 1971. In the coming days, these conclusions will be presented to the European Parliament and other similar institutions in order to obtain a international recognition and raise public awareness. this crime while also involving the Bangladeshi diaspora in the process.
Therefore, Sanchita Haque, Deputy Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in Geneva, shared her remarks on the issue. Addressing the monumental statistics of victims, abused and displaced people, she said the pain of the Bangladeshi people comes from the lack of recognition from the international community despite the scale of these horrific crimes. She concluded that it is “abhorrent and unacceptable” that the international community has not yet recognized that it was a genocide. Until now, Bangladesh celebrates March 25 as Genocide Day every year and established the Liberation War Museum in 1996 to fight for this recognition and justice.
Next, Anthonie Holslag, lecturer at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, gave her academic perspective on the issue as an expert in international law and genocide. Addressing the need to prove intent under international law, he argued that the legal, social and scientific evidence collected ensures that there is no debate as to whether or not this serious series of crimes can be considered a genocide, the statement said. Concluding, GHRD President Sital stressed the need to support this initiative and call for justice for those affected and reminded UN members of their duty to call for recognition and justice for these victims. With over 3 million victims, over 2,00,000 women raped and around 30 million people displaced, both internally and externally, this side event drew attention to the seriousness of this problem and demanded that the United Nations and its frameworks do more.
As a call to action, discussing the particular resolutions and mechanisms used thus far, the event set the stage for a campaign to secure accountability and closure for the victims of this horrific crime. To begin with, it is urgent and urgent that the international community and the United Nations officially recognize this genocide after 52 years of denial, ignorance and surveillance, the statement added. (ANI)
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