European Bangladesh Forum (EBF) organised the symposium at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London to support the call to recognise 1971 Bangladesh genocide
Prominent international human rights activists, academics and diplomats in London supported the demand for immediate international recognition of the Bangladesh genocide committed by the Pakistani army in 1971.
The demand for international recognition of the genocide committed in 1971 was reiterated by the speakers at the international symposium organized by the European Bangladesh Forum (EBF), a platform for the Bangladeshi diaspora in Europe, at the seminar room of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London.
Mr Ansar Ahmed Ullah, President of EBF UK, chaired the symposium. Mr Chris Blackburn, Senior British Journalist, Harry van Bommel, former Member of Parliament in the Netherlands, Claudia Wadlich, Human Rights activist, Germany, Sk Md Shahriar Mosharraf, Minister, Bangladesh High Commission in London, Professor Dr. Tazeen Murshid, Centre for Development Research and Cooperation (DRC-Global), Belgium, Syed Badrul Ahsan, former Editor of New Age, Dhaka, Saad S Khan, Charles Wallace, Visiting Fellow at SOAS South Asia Institute, Reza Hosseinbor, Irani-Baluch Human Rights Activist, Bikash Chowdhury Barua, President EBF, Netherlands, Val Harding, Executive Member of Swadhinata Trust, UK and Willem van der Geest, noted educationist and intellectual from Belgium were present.
The speakers said, due to the ongoing geo-political cold war among the top international communities, this historically proven genocide has not been recognised internationally so far. Millions of men and women, who were victims of the 1971 genocide and their family members, are still deprived of justice for this genocide due to political and diplomatic campaigns of Pakistan over the ages. Therefore, it is the time for all ethnic groups who are victims of genocide and torture in all regions of the world to come together on the same platform and demand their rightful rights and justice.
The purposes of the symposium, among others, were to inform British and European politicians, policymakers, human rights activists and academics to create awareness on this issue to press the demand for international recognition of the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh committed by Pakistan.
It may be mentioned that Britain played a significant role during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971. During that period, Sir Peter Shore MP, the then Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, placed a motion in the UK parliament condemning the Pakistani atrocities in 1971 in Bangladesh. It may be recalled that more than 233 MPs later placed another motion seeking an end to the ‘Genocide’ in Bangladesh and the recognition of it as an independent nation.
It may be mentioned that Bangladesh’s genocide is one of the worst mass atrocities witnessed in the 20th century. According to the Bangladesh Government, approximately three million people were killed, over two hundred thousand women were violated and ten million people were forced to cross the border and take shelter in India. Unfortunately, the Bangladesh genocide has today become a forgotten chapter in history. EBF demanded that the 1971 genocide should be recognised internationally to give justice to the victims of the atrocities.
The London seminar provided a platform for South Asian and European activists and policymakers to discuss the issue at length. The seminar was live broadcast for a wider audience from the Facebook and YouTube platforms of the British Bangla News TV and The New Sun Bangla Post.