Researchers, scholars urged to present facts of Bangladesh genocide before global community
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam on Saturday called upon genocide scholars, researchers, civil society organisations, human rights activists, print and electronic media to present before the global community the facts and figure of Bangladesh genocide. It is the moral obligation on the States and international community to show due respect to the victims of Bangladesh genocide and thus demonstrate their commitment towards the promotion and protection of human rights, he said. Bangladesh Genocide was hardly discussed and the victims were hardly remembered since 1975 till the Awami League formed the government in 1996, said the State Minister while speaking at a programme marking the Bangladesh Genocide Day at the Liberation War Museum. “Rather deliberate attempts were made to distort the facts and figure of Bangladesh genocide during that period,” he said. Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque spoke as the chief guest while President of Asia Justice and Rights Barrister Patrick Burgess presented the keynote speech. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, among others, spoke at the discussion. After the brutal killing of Bangabandhu on 15 August 1975, the State Minister said, a dramatic change appeared to take place in official policy towards the issue of the 1971 genocide under the military government. The Collaborators Act 1972 was repealed, all those leading war criminal-suspects who had fled the country and lost citizenship rights, were invited to return, he said, adding that many of the war criminals were rehabilitated into the mainstream politics and were offered to enjoy state power. The State Minister said around 32 years of 52 years since independence, the government was led by pro-Pakistani forces. “I can assure everyone today that the government under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would continue its sincere efforts to achieve recognition of 1971 genocide in Bangladesh,” Alam said. In view of the then domestic and international context, he said, Bangabandhu declared limited amnesty for the local collaborators in December 1973. However, the amnesty did not cover “anyone who killed people, raped and set fire or caused to damage people's homestead with explosives or convicted for damaging water-transport”. Later, the war criminals and their sympathisers tried to misguide people with distorted facts that Bangabandhu pardoned all, Alam said. Read more: Recognise March 25 as International Genocide Day: PM urges UN “The intent was obvious, which was to destroy Bengali nationalism and shatter their political aspiration for a free and independent Bangladesh. So, it was cool-headed and deliberate act of genocide from their part,” said the State Minister. He said the government has incorporated the history of the 1971 war and the genocide into the national curriculum. “This is aimed at ensuring that future generations are aware of the atrocities that took place and are committed to preventing similar events from occurring in the future.” The State Minister said the government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is firmly committed to continue its efforts towards recognition by global community of the historical facts of Bangladesh genocide and the importance of preventing such acts of genocide from occurring in future anywhere in the world. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bangladesh Missions abroad have been actively working to internationalize the issue of the genocide committed during the Bangladesh Liberation War, he said. As a result of our combined efforts, he said, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention recognized the Bangladesh genocide 1971 on 31 December 2022. “We also welcome recent bipartisan move in the US Congress for recognition of genocide committed by the Pakistani army in Bangladesh. We will continue to welcome any such initiatives by friendly countries while highlighting correct perspective of the Bangladesh Genocide,” he said. Alam said media can also play a key role in mobilizing public opinion and shaping international responses to the genocide. “The reporting of the international media has provided us a strong record of genocide, which has been important and will remain useful to hold the perpetrators accountable and get the recognition of Bangladesh genocide by the wider global community,” he said.
West must recognize 1971 genocide Pakistan army committed in Bangladesh: Shahriar Alam
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Monday said the countries which are acknowledging genocide in Myanmar must also recognize the genocide Pakistani military had committed in Bangladesh in 1971. "We are immediately raising this with those countries," he told reporters after a seminar at Foreign Service Academy while talking about the heinous attack of Pakistani military on the unarmed civilians during the nine months of Bangladesh Liberation War. The seminar titled "Recognition of Bangladesh Genocide 1971" was held at Foreign Service Academy. The state minister said since there is already a Genocide Day in the UN the world body unfortunately will not recognise 1971 genocide as the UN Genocide Day. Describing the issue as a complex one, Shahriar hoped that Bangladesh will get the recognition from the people of the majority countries if it may not be possible to get recognition from those countries officially. The government intensified its efforts towards attaining UN recognition for the genocide committed in Bangladesh in 1971 which is one of the world's worst such crimes. Also read: Bangladesh seeks OIC’s help to continue Rohingya genocide case The Awami League government has decided to observe the 25th March as 'Genocide Day' and the Cabinet approved a proposal to observe the 25th March as a Genocide Day. The proposal was made on March 20, 2017. Earlier, on March 11 of the same year, parliament unanimously passed a proposal to observe the day. The issue of attaining UN recognition was as a priority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since it came up in parliament in March 2017. The government’s effort is not limited to attaining the UN recognition as the UN declared December 9 as International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide and of the Prevention of this Crime. The government wants recognition from the maximum number of countries that will condemn the genocide. The issue of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh was widely discussed among the international community and in media during Liberation War but quickly the issue of genocide became a forgotten one. The observance of the 25th March as 'Genocide Day' will be marked as nation's eternal memorial to the sacrifice of the martyrs in the War of Liberation and considered as a testimony of the gruesome massacre committed by the Pakistani occupation forces. On the 25th March, then-Pakistani military dictator Yahya Khan went to Pakistan secretly giving the order of genocide in the name of Operation Search Light in Bangladesh. From that night members of the Pakistani army and their local collaborators- Rajakar, Al-Badar and Al-Shams forces killed 3 million people all over the country in the next 9 months.
Leading Canadian museum reviewing submission on ’71 genocide for display
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) is now reviewing a submission for recognition of the "genocide" perpetrated by the Pakistani occupation forces in Bangladesh in 1971 to it last year. CMHR is a federally-managed museum whose role includes preserving and promoting Canada’s heritage at home and abroad; contributing to the collective memory and sense of identity of all Canadians; and inspiring research, learning, and entertainment that belong to all Canadians. As part of the review process, Jeremy Melvin Maron, curator of the Holocaust and Genocide Contest at CMHR and in charge of reviewing and recommending the submission to the concerned authorities of CMHR for acceptance, will be in Dhaka from February 6 to 12 this year. During his stay in Dhaka, Maron would visit some of the sites where the genocide took place and meet the members of the families of the victims and the survivors. The Liberation War Museum, Bangabandhu Memorial Museum and other museums. He will also meet senior officials and policymakers of the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other national experts in genocide issues. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Liberation War Museum will jointly organise and manage his visit to Bangladesh. Once the submission is accepted, CMHR would permanently display the "Evidences and Exhibits of Genocide" in the museum. At the same time, the Year of the Birth of Bangladesh and the Portrait of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would also be placed in the "Time Stream" of the museum. Acceptance of the submission and permanent display of "Evidences and Exhibits of Genocide" in the CMHR is an important step towards raising awareness about the genocide in 1971 and its recognition in Canada, the Bangladesh High Commission in Ottawa said Monday. Earlier, the Bangladesh mission in collaboration with the Bangabandhu Centre for Bangladesh Studies in Canada, the Liberation War Museum Dhaka, the Centre for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University and the Conflict and Resilience Research Institute Canada made a submission for recognition of the genocide to CMHR. After the submission, the Bangladesh High Commission organised an international seminar at CMHR participated by international experts, intellectuals, diplomats and academicians. The seminar discussed the genocide in Bangladesh in 1971 and emphasised its global recognition. Read more: Prominent persons demand recognition of 1971 killings as genocide
Prominent persons demand recognition of 1971 killings as genocide
Prominent persons of the country Wednesday demanded that the massacre perpetrated by the Pakistani forces in Bangladesh in 1971 be declared genocide. They were speaking at a programme at the East West University (EWU). Mofidul Haque, trustee of the Liberation War Museum, Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, director of the Center for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University, Prof MM Shahidul Hassan, vice-chancellor of EWU, and Prof Mohammed Farashuddin, former PS to Bangabandhu and chief advisor of EWU, were present at the programme. Read more: 'Recognising the Bangladesh Genocide of 1971': ICSF welcomes US Congress initiative They said the killings and massacres that took place in Bangladesh during the 1971 Liberation War were cruel and terrible. "More than 30 lakh people were killed, 5-6 lakh women were mercilessly raped and more than 1 crore people became refugees." "Similar incidents occurred in Bosnia and Rwanda, which were recognised as genocide by the UN. Even though the number of genocidal activities in Bangladesh was higher than those during 1971, the UN is yet to recognise it as genocide," they added. The speakers demanded recognition of genocide from the UN as soon as possible.
'PM Hasina should get Nobel prize for hosting Rohingyas'
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should get the Nobel prize for her humanitarian and responsible policy in hosting the Rohingyas, the speakers said during a discussion Wednesday. They were addressing the discussion "Rohingya's: Victims of Genocide and Looking for Answers" organised by the Entrepreneurship Economics Program of the Dhaka School of Economics. The speakers also urged the international community to play a strong role in the repatriation of Rohingyas from Bangladesh. Munshi Faiz Ahmad, former ambassador of Bangladesh to China and former head of the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, said Rohingya repatriation should get utmost priority now. Read more: Hasina breaks down in tears while talking about everyday ordeals of Rohingyas "More international pressure must be applied on Myanmar to overcome the Rohingya crisis. Considering world peace, Rohingyas must be resettled in their country for long-term results," he added. Faiz also highlighted the importance of the five-point proposal placed by Hasina at the 72nd United Nations General Assembly session to solve the Rohingya crisis. Muhammad Mahboob Ali, professor of Dhaka School of Economics and Coordinator of the Entrepreneurship Economics Programme, said: "Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina should get the Nobel Peace Prize for the generosity she showed in sheltering the Rohingyas." Read more: UN asked to resolve Rohingya crisis: PM Also, as the chief guest of the programme, Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation, urged more people to get admitted to Masters of Entrepreneurship Economics or postgraduate diploma in Enterprise Development at the Dhaka School of Economics to get proper knowledge and skill.
Why hasn’t the UN recognised 1971 Bangladesh Genocide yet?
Seventy-five years after the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide came into force, one of its glaring failures has been not recognising the 1971 Bangladesh genocide and the 2017 genocide against the Rohingyas in Myanmar. This not only saddens us in Bangladesh, it also upsets many who have followed large scale massacre of human beings in various parts of the post-colonial world. Polish Jewish refugee lawyer Raphael Lemkin coined the word “genocide” in 1943 to describe the killing and destruction of people. The word is derived from the Greek “genos” (people, tribe or race) and the Latin “cide” (killing) against the backdrop of the Holocaust, that Winston Churchill said was a “crime without a name”. But Churchill’s double-standards remained the enduring feature of Western standpoint on how they look at a genocide or large scale engineered deaths. Churchill, the British “hero” who guided the Allies to victory in World War II and who attacked Hitler and the Nazis over the Jewish Holocaust, has been held responsible for triggering the Bengal famine that led to 3 million deaths in what was then undivided Bengal, the largest province of British India. Read more: 'Recognising the Bangladesh Genocide of 1971': ICSF welcomes US Congress initiative Madhusree Mukerjee, whose “Churchill’s Secret War” created waves and rattled many a British colonial apologist, has gone on record to equate Hitler’s extermination of 10 million Jews with Churchill’s presiding over the death of three million Bengalis through a famine orchestrated by policies linked to the British war effort. On December 9, 1948, the international community formally adopted a definition of genocide within the 1948 Convention – essentially enshrining the message of “never again” in international law. Rachel Burns of the York University questions whether the convention has achieved what it set out to do and focused on three of its key areas of failure. · First, the very application of the term “genocide” is applied too slowly and cautiously when atrocities happen. · Second, the international community fails to act effectively against genocides. · Third, too few perpetrators are actually convicted of their crimes. Read more: Declare Pakistan army action in 1971 ‘Genocide’: US congressmen introduce resolution Burns points to the many genocides that have occurred since the 1948 Convention and its ratification in 1951, and then points to the only three that have been legally recognised – and led to trials – under the convention: Rwanda in 1994, Bosnia (and the 1995 Srebrenica massacre), and Cambodia under the 1975-9 Pol Pot regime. Burns refers to the widespread killing and displacement of Yazidi by IS and of Rohingyas in Myanmar which are ongoing and recognised by the UN as a whole, but are yet to be officially recognised as genocides by some individual states. Similarly, 13 years after atrocities took place in the Sudanese region of Darfur, criminal investigations continue but no official charges of genocide have been made under the convention. Political scientist Adam Jones names the genocides committed under Saddam Hussein against the Kurds in 1988-91 in Iraq, and the genocide committed by West Pakistan forces against Bangladeshis in 1971. “And the list of ‘genocides’ that might fall under the UN definition is frighteningly long. The International Criminal Court is investigating several states in which human rights violations and war crimes ‘may’ have occurred,” says Rachel Burns. Read more: 1971 genocide: Need to work together to get recognition from UN, says DU VC As a passionate and patriotic Bangladeshi, I would like to argue that the UN should prioritize recognising the 1971 East Pakistan genocide against Bengalis for three reasons: · The number of people killed in then East Pakistan by Pakistani forces (regular army and collaborators) between March and December 1971 far exceeds the numbers of victims of the three genocides recognised by the UN. Nearly 3 million Bengalis of all faiths were massacred by the Pakistani forces. In comparison, 1.5 to 2 million deaths occurred at the hands of the murderous Khmer Rouge but these deaths were over a four year period between 1975 and 1979. Between 500000 to 650000 Tutsis were massacred by Hutus during the Rwandan civil war between April and August 1994. And the Balkan genocide casualty toll never crossed six digits. · The genocide in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was not just limited to random killings but involved both targeted murders (of intellectuals to leave behind a brain deficit) and also largescale rapes (nearly 300,000) of Bengali women as well as arson. · This genocide was carried out by the Pakistan army – and not by militias – which has since been designated by US and NATO as an “useful ally in the war against terror”. Read More: Chitra erosion threatens mass grave of 1971 in Magura A recognition of the 1971 East Pakistan genocide by the UN is not only important for the global body to regain its credibility and effectiveness but also to expose a military institution which is seen as of much strategic value in the West. The West has been fooled, somewhat willfully, into believing that the Pakistan army is useful in fighting terror in Afghanistan. There is enough evidence now to suggest that the Pakistani generals were always running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. They were allowing US and NATO a springboard for anti-Taliban operations but were also allowing Taliban safe shelter, training and weapons in Pakistan, without which the Taliban would have never survived, let alone emerge victorious to take over the country. The least the West, especially the US (which is very vocal about human rights violations in Bangladesh now), can do is to take the initiative to officially recognise the 1971 East Pakistan genocide. They should stop fooling their own citizens and taxpayers about the role of the Pakistani army in the war against terror. By recognising the 1971 genocide, they can hold the Pakistan army accountable for denying Bengalis the right to life during the Liberation War. Recognition of both 1971 East Pakistan genocide and the 2017 Rohingya genocide will help call out and expose two evil military institutions who threaten democracy and dignity of life in our part of the world. It is high time the West stops chasing phantoms and does its bit to punish mass murderers in our region. Otherwise, their sermons on human rights just ring hollow. Read More: Brave Women Freedom Fighters of Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War Seventy-five years after the UN Convention, Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel’s “never again” for genocide remains “a prayer, a promise, a vow” but also a frequent reality. And their frequent recurrence owes much to how many genocides have gone unrecognised and unpunished. Tarana Halim, an actress and lawyer, is a former Bangladeshi minister. She is now president of Bangabandhu Sanskritic Jote, a front for cultural movement against radicalism. She is also a member of Awami League central committee.
Despite its 1971 role, spokesperson says Jamaat ‘committed to democracy’ since formation
Despite its widely documented role as collaborating with the Pakistani occupation forces in committing genocide during the Liberation War in 1971, a spokesperson of Jamaat-e-Islami has claimed that the party, since its formation, is “committed to democracy’. Abu Bakar Molla, EU and UK spokesperson of Jamaat, was speaking on a TRT World current affairs programme, “The Newsmakers”, on December 21, 2022. Jamaat-e-Islami actively opposed the creation of Bangladesh and helped Pakistani forces carry out genocide and crimes against humanity during the nine months of the Liberation War. Read more: PM Hasina wonders how leftists could join hands with BNP and Jamaat In its verdict against Ghulam Azam, the Jamaat ameer in 1971, the International Crimes Tribunal noted that Jamaat-e-Islami – under Ghulam Azam’s leadership – operated as a “criminal organisation” during the Liberation War. Without naming any specific human rights organization, the Jamaat spokesperson said, “What about the international human rights community are saying… they are independent, they are neutral… international human rights community has given statements, saying that human rights are grossly violated in Bangladesh.” Incidentally, Jamaat-e-Islami recently claimed that Indian forces were “behind the killings of intellectuals” at the end of the Liberation War. A claim The Daily Star reported as “yet another blatant attempt to distort history.” During a virtual discussion on the occasion of Martyred Intellectuals Day, Jamaat leaders claimed that Bengali intellectuals were killed so that the country “could not stand without the support of a neighbouring country.” Read more: Jamaat, which was behind killings of intellectuals in 1971, BNP's main associate: Info Minister On the TRT World program, Abu Bakar spoke about supporting Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) in its call for restoring the caretaker government system and demand for resignation of the current government. Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury, standing committee member of BNP, reiterated his party’s call for national election only under a caretaker government. Also on the show, Barrister Shah Ali Farhad, former special assistant to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said, “The (recent) protests are actually purely political party rallies of BNP. No evidence to suggest that they have any mass involvement. While rising costs of living are impacting citizens’ lives, they are well informed as to the global reasons behind the rise. Their confidence is on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to deliver results, as she has delivered over the last one decade… The government respects the freedoms of assembly and speech of BNP and their allies as long as no public security risk is involved. The fact that BNP organised rallies in all divisional cities is evidence of the government’s cooperation in this regard.”
Declare Pakistan army action in 1971 ‘Genocide’: US congressmen introduce resolution
US congressman Steve Chabot, along with congressman of Indian origin Ro Khanna, introduced a resolution in US House of Representatives to declare Pakistan Army action against Bengalis and Hindus in 1971 during the Liberation War of Bangladesh as "genocide" and "crime against humanity". The Bangladesh Genocide of 1971 must not be forgotten, Chabot said. "With help from my Hindu constituents in Ohio’s First District, Rep Ro Khanna and I introduced legislation to recognize that the mass atrocities committed against Bengalis and Hindus, in particular, were indeed a genocide," he said. Read 1971 genocide by Pakistani military most heinous crimes in human history Chabot said they must not let the years erase the memory of the millions who were massacred. "Recognizing the genocide strengthens the historical record, educates our fellow Americans, and lets would-be perpetrators know such crimes will not be tolerated or forgotten," he tweeted. "Proud to join Rep Steve Chabot in introducing the first resolution commemorating the 1971 Bengali Genocide in which millions of ethnic Bengalis and Hindus were killed or displaced in one of the most forgotten genocides of our time," Khanna said. Read 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh: Govt efforts on to have UN recognition The 8-page resolution titled "Recognizing the Bangladesh Genocide of 1971" calls on the government of Pakistan, in the face of overwhelming evidence, to offer acknowledgment of its role in such genocide, offer formal apologies to the government and people of Bangladesh, and prosecute, in accordance with international law, any perpetrators who are still living. It condemns the atrocities committed by the Armed Forces of Pakistan against the people of Bangladesh from March 1971 to December 1971; recognizes that such atrocities against Bengalis and Hindus constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide; recalls the death and suffering of the countless victims of such atrocities and expresses its deep sympathy for the suffering. The resolution recognizes that entire ethnic groups or religious communities are not responsible for the crimes committed by their members; calls on the President of the United States to recognize the atrocities committed against ethnic Bengalis and Hindus by the Armed Forces of Pakistan during 1971 as crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Read Mozammel batting for international recognition of genocide of 1971 The resolution to declare the Pakistan army's action in 1971 as 'Genocide' reaffirms the United States commitment to promoting peace, stability, and intercommunal harmony in the Indo-Pacific region, and the right of all people living in the region, regardless of national, racial, ethnic, or religious background, to enjoy the benefits of democratic institutions, the rule of law, the freedom of religion, and economic opportunity.
Genocide against Rohingya: Bangladesh welcomes ICJ's rejection of Myanmar claims
Bangladesh has welcomed the judgment delivered by the UN's top court on the preliminary objections of Myanmar concerning the application or admissibility of the Genocide Convention in the case between The Gambia and Myanmar. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) judgment rejected all four preliminary objections of Myanmar on legal and procedural grounds, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said Friday. "Bangladesh maintains that the question of international justice and accountability will be critical in finding a durable solution to the Rohingya crisis." It would also prove to be a confidence-building measure for the sustainable repatriation of the Rohingya to their homes in Myanmar with their legitimate rights restored, MoFA said.
US envoy decries Pak atrocities in 1971 as horrible
The United States has said there was no doubt that there had been “terrible atrocities” and killings in 1971 but the question of determining genocide under the US law is a very difficult legal question. “Undoubtedly what happened in 1971 was horrible. There were terrible atrocities. There were considerable amounts of deaths. The question of determining genocide under the US law is a very difficult legal question,” said US ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas on Tuesday. Also read:Bangladesh won’t face Sri Lanka-like crisis: Ambassador Haas He made the remarks at “DCAB Talk” when asked whether the US is in a position to recognize the genocide in Bangladesh in 1971. The US government recently determined that the Myanmar military committed the crimes against humanity and genocide against humanity against ethnic Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State. Late Edward M. Kennedy in his speech delivered on his first visit to independent Bangladesh in February 1972 said, “You know while some governments do not yet recognise you, the people of the world do recognise you and they recognise all you have accomplished here in the name of freedom from tyranny and oppression.….” Sought updates on Bangladesh’s request for the deportation of Rashed Chowdhury, the self-confessed killer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, ambassador Haas said basically it is very complicated legal proceeding in the US and it is still under review. He said they are very much aware of Bangladesh’s interest to see a decision made but it currently remains under review. Responding to another question, the US envoy said the United States “makes no excuses” when it comes to the matter of human rights and freedom of the press. Also read:US stands by Bangladesh as a steadfast dev partner: Ambassador Haas “I will go back to a comment that I made earlier that the United States has decided to put human rights, the issues of freedom of the press at the centre of our foreign policy and that we make no excuses about that." Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) hosted the DCAB Talk at Jatiya Press Club. DCAB President Rezaul Karim Lotus moderated the event while its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin delivered the welcome remarks.