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Bangladesh reiterates call for recognition of 1971 genocide

Staff Reporter:

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen has reiterated the call of the government of Bangladesh for due international recognition of the worst and the most horrific genocide in the 20th century perpetrated by the Pakistani regime in 1971 on the soil of Bangladesh.

“Genocide recognition pays tribute to the martyrs and other victims and brings some solace to the victim families and it reduces the trauma experienced by survivors and victims’ families,” he said.

He was speaking at an event jointly organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Liberation War Affairs in collaboration with the Liberation War Museum to commemorate the Bangladesh Genocide Day on 25 March at the museum.

He said the memories and trauma associated with the genocide were still very much vivid in the collective memory of the people of Bangladesh which became a powerful symbol of strength and determination and ability of the people of Bangladesh to overcome any adversity.

The heinous strategy of rape, arson, looting and property damage, and forced displacements were major features of the genocidal activities by the Pakistani forces backed by the collaborators.

All these features make the prima facie case of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh within the terms of the UN’s 1948 Genocide Convention.

The foreign secretary highlighted the bold steps taken by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to seek justice for the genocide victims, including the establishment of the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) in 1973 that were stymied by subsequent political upheavals.

He said that despite such setbacks, the initiatives of the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina revitalised the pursuit of justice and the drive of the government to secure international recognition of the 1971 genocide of Bangladesh.

The foreign secretary expressed gratitude to all the leading international organisations, parliamentarians, scholars, and academia all over the world that recognised the 1971 Bangladesh Genocide and have been working relentlessly for its due international recognition.

He said Bangladesh was one of the vocal members of the international community to oppose the ongoing genocidal activities in Gaza by the Israeli forces and Bangladesh was also part of the efforts of South Africa in its genocide case filed against Israel at the ICJ under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

He noted that Bangladesh was not only a genocide victim but also a saviour of genocide victims as the country temporarily sheltered more than 1.2 million Rohingyas who fled persecution and genocide in their homeland Myanmar.

Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Huq graced the occasion as the chief guest and Elisa von Joeden-Forgey, executive director of the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention, presented the keynote speech on “Politics of Genocide Remembrance.”

Trustee and Member Secretary of the Liberation War Museum Sara Zaker and Trustee Mofidul Hoque also spoke at the event.

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