Dhaka Courier

1971 Genocide in Bangladesh: Govt efforts on to have int’l recognition

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Adama Dieng, UN Under Secretary-General & Special Adviser to UN Secretary-General for Prevention of Genocide, met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office on 24 March 2019. PID photo

The government has intensified its efforts towards attaining international recognition for the genocide committed in Bangladesh in 1971 which is one of the world's worst genocides.

“Our key aim is to attain UN recognition of genocide committed in Bangladesh in 1971,” said State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam highlighting government’s efforts to raise the grave mistreatment of humanity at international levels.

The current government decided to observe the 25th March as 'Genocide Day' marking the widespread killings by Pakistani Army on the unarmed Bangalees on the black night of March 25, 1971. The Cabinet approved a proposal, to observe the 25th March as a Genocide Day 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 remains as a priority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since it came up in parliament in March 2017,” he said.

Talking about facts, figures and relevant documents, the State Minister said governments in the post-1975, especially the BNP-Jamaat alliance, gradually destroyed evidences instead of preserving those.

He said now the government has enough documents much of which came through formation of the International Crimes Tribunal in Bangladesh.

Shahriar said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina raised the genocide issue during bilateral and multilateral meetings she attended over the last two years.

He said the government has sent many relevant documents to various places at international level.

The State Minister said 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.

He said the government wants recognition from the maximum number of countries that will condemn the genocide.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General’s special adviser on prevention of genocide Adama Dieng remembered all the victims of the genocide that took place in 1971 and recognised the pains and the courage of those who survived. “I’m glad that Bangladesh is remaining very committed to the issue of accountability.”

The UN Special Adviser, who visited Bangladesh for the third time, addressed the seminar titled ‘1971 Genocide in Bangladesh’ organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) at its auditorium on March 24.

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, Director, Centre for Genocide Studies and Liberation War Museum trustee Mofidul Haque, BIISS Chairman Munshi Faiz Ahmad and its Director General Maj Gen AKM Abdur Rahman, among others, spoke at the event.

Highlighting his mandate, he said all must be prepared to take action when the alarm is heard and must move from reluctant to “preventive approach” when they see the first signs of concerns.

Giving much emphasis on building resilience, the UN official said he is extremely pleased to note that such resilience has been demonstrated by the government of Bangladesh.

Because, he added, after going such terrible events in this country like 1971 genocide and rebuilding the country that is a great achievement.

Mofidul Haque said 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.

Most importantly, he said, it has to be looked at what happened in the 1971 Liberation War as well as why it had happened.

Speakers at the seminar, talked about the heinous attack of Pakistani military on the unarmed civilians throughout the Bangladesh Liberation War.

They also mentioned about the current government’s vigorous endeavour towards attaining UN recognition for the 1971 genocide.

Foreign Secretary Haque, after the seminar, said they are trying to get international recognition of the genocide 1971 in Bangladesh saying it is not an easy task. “We’re working on that. We’ve instructed all our missions abroad to work on the issue and raise awareness. It’s not easy, but we’re working,” he said.

The Foreign Secretary said as part of the government’s efforts, they have invited the UN special adviser on prevention of genocide to familiarize him about the genocide of 1971. “It’s part of our international opinion-building process.”

The observance of the 25th March as 'Genocide Day' is 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, Yahya Khan went to Pakistan secretly giving the order of genocide in the name of Operation Search Light. From that night members of the Pakistani army and their local collaborators- Rajakar, Al-Badar and Al-Shams killed 3 million people all over the country in the next 9 months.

  • Govt efforts on to have int’l recognition
  • 1971 Genocide in Bangladesh
  • Issue 38
  • Vol 35
  • DhakaCourier

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