Global Human Rights Defence raises awareness of 1971 Bangladesh genocide at EU headquarters

Global Human Rights Defence raises awareness of 1971 Bangladesh genocide at EU headquarters
The Economic Times

(Article originally published by The Economic Times)

Global Human Rights Defence, a leading human rights organization, hosted a conference titled "The Forgotten Genocide Bangladesh 1971" at the European Union headquarters in Belgium's Brussels on July 3. The speakers urged the international community to actively campaign for the recognition of the genocide in Bangladesh.

The event aimed to shed light on and seek justice for the victims of the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, Global Human Rights Defence said in a press release. The Conference, organized by Global Human Rights Defence and presided over by Member of European Parliament Mel Fulvio Martusciello, brought together 65 participants, including speakers from various fields, all united in their commitment to seeking recognition for the victims of the 1971 Bangladesh genocide.

Global Human Rights Defence and the esteemed speakers called on the international community to take action. They urged them to actively campaign for the recognition of atrocities conducted by the Pakistarmy during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 and recognise it as genocide. They also seek a public apology and trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.

In her opening remarks, Manel Msalmi, International Affairs Advisor and moderator of the Conference, emphasized the severity of the 1971 atrocities, which have yet to receive the global recognition they deserve. For more than 50 years, the Bengali people have been deprived of the healing and closure they desperately need.

Member of European Parliament Isabella Adinolfi expressed gratitude to all participants and showed solidarity with the families of the victims and survivors of the 1971 genocide. She also highlighted the violence and persecution that women went through, emphasizing the need for recognition by EU institutions.

While concluding her address, Isabella Adinolfi conveyed Martusciello's message: "It's time for the EU to recognize what happened in Bangladesh as a crime against humanity, more than 50 years after the nation was plunged into blood and tyranny", according to Global Human Rights Defence's press release. 

The event featured prominent speakers, including Sradhanand Sital, Chairman of Global Human Rights Defence; Willy Fautre, Director of Human Rights without Frontiers, Andy Vermaut, President of Postversa, Giuliana Franciosa, Isabella Adinolfi MEP; Mahbub Sales, the Ambassador of Bangladesh in Belgium and Paul Manik, a survivor who managed to escape the genocide in 1971. 

Bangladesh's Ambassador to Belgium Mahbub Hassan Saleh commended the Conference's efforts to shed light on the atrocities committed by the Pakistani Army during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, according to the press release. He reiterated the staggering scale of the tragedy, with approximately 3 million Bengalis killed, over 2 million Bengali women raped, and 30 million Bengalis displaced. Despite some recognition of the events, the genocide remains largely unknown to the international community.

The event also included a partial screening of Global Human Rights Defence's documentary film titled "Bangladesh: What Happened?" This comprehensive account of the genocide in 1971 by the Pakistani Army served to further illustrate the gravity of the situation.