Highlighting the great importance and an absolute necessity to honour the victims of genocide and their descendants, speakers at an international conference have demanded international recognition of the Bangladesh genocide that took place during March-December 1971.
The demand came during an international conference held on Thursday titled, 'Bangladesh: Justice after genocide' held at Leiden University in the Hague and organized by Europe based Bangladeshi diaspora organization European Bangladesh Forum (EBF) in collaboration with the Leiden University UNICEF Student Team the Hague & SESA (Southeast and South Asian) Club by CIROS (Community of International Relations and Organisations Students).
A total of around 72 participants, mostly university students from different universities in the Netherlands joined the conference and took part in the discussion during the two Q&A sessions. Former member of the Bangladesh Parliament M Mahjabeen Khaled shared her personal story saying, "that topic is very personal to me and my family" and "The war of liberation defines me and what I am today."
She further stated, "1971 liberation war has narrated thousands of personal stories and I hope that in the 21st century the global community will stand alongside Bangladesh, not just to remember, but also to recognise the Bangladesh Genocide of 1971." Paying rich tributes to Sheikh Mujibur Rehman, founder of Bangladesh, former ambassador of Pakistan to the US Hussain Haqqani said, "had he lived, I am certain he would have supported the idea of a formal apology from Pakistan for the tragedy inflicted on the people of Bangladesh during their war of liberation.
This demand is supported by fair-minded people, like Pakistani dissidents like me," the Pakistan diplomat said adding, "collective apologies help heal wounds and enable nations to deal with past wrongdoing. Bangabandhu's (Sheikh Mujibur Rehman's) life and struggle make him a hero for the people of Bangladesh and other nations but in a fairer world, he would not have had to face the repression and injustice that he fought at great cost to himself and his family," Haqqani further said. EBF also plans to organize a two-day long demonstration in front of the historic 'Broken Chair' at the UN building in Geneva, Switzerland starting today.
The demonstration is being organized in collaboration with the International Human Rights Commission Bangladesh, Geneva. The demonstration will reiterate the demand for trial of the perpetrators responsible for the genocide in Bangladesh and international recognition of the 1971 genocide committed by the Pakistan army. During the 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh, the Pakistan military deliberately harmed hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi citizens. Rights group says the horrors of 1971 are considered one of the worst mass atrocities in history. The damage they inflicted can be described in the following numbers.
As many as three million people were believed to have been killed, up to 200,000 women were violated and over 10 million people were forced to cross the border to India to seek shelter.