On September 25, 2023, the Sector Commanders Forum of Liberation War unequivocally called upon the United Nations (UN) to recognize the harrowing genocide inflicted upon the Bangalee nation during the Liberation War in 1971. This heinous atrocity was orchestrated by the Pakistan occupation army, in collaboration with their local counterparts, within the borders of Bangladesh.
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In a resolute press conference held at the Jatiya Press Club, Dhaka, the leaders of the forum passionately voiced their demand. They urged everyone to actively contribute to this pivotal cause. The gravity of their plea was palpable in the very air.
Call for Justice and Closure
The Secretary General of the Sector Commanders Forum, Haroon Habib, eloquently read aloud the written statement. Standing shoulder to shoulder with him were luminaries of the forum, including its Executive President, Md Nurul Alam, Vice-Presidents M Hamid, Major General (retd) Mohammad Ali Sikder, and AKM Shahidul Haque. The Joint Secretary Generals, Professor Abul Kalam Azad, Abdul Mabud, and Shahjahan Mredha Benu, among other distinguished individuals, lent their unwavering support to this solemn cause.
The forum put forth a comprehensive and compelling list of eight demands. Foremost among these was the urgent formation of a national investigation commission. They proposed the commission be tasked with identifying those who had benefited most from the assassination of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and the tragic loss of most of his family members. This demand resonated with the quest for justice and closure that had eluded the nation for far too long.
Further underlining their commitment to transparency, the forum called for the publication of the investigation’s findings in the form of a white paper. The demands extended beyond mere words. They included the establishment of a Liberation War Memorial at the hallowed grounds of major battlefields and sites of unimaginable suffering. In recognition of their sacrifices, the forum urged the provision of VIP status and free medical treatment for living freedom fighters, a gesture that would honour their unwavering dedication.
Voices raised for honouring sacrifice
Another significant demand was the monthly honorarium, equivalent to that received by first-class government officials, for the freedom fighters. This was a testament to their enduring valor and commitment to the nation’s cause.
The call for the restoration of the 1972 Constitution was a reaffirmation of the nation’s enduring values and principles. The construction of a mausoleum dedicated to the freedom fighters would stand as an enduring symbol of gratitude and remembrance.
In a final, resolute stance, the forum demanded the prohibition of radical, sectarian, and bigoted groups, echoing their unwavering commitment to preserving the inclusive and harmonious spirit of the nation.
Demand echoed in 53rd UN Human Rights Council Session
Before this demand, at the dawn of June this year, the UN Human Rights Council included the demand of international recognition of the genocide against Bangalees during the Liberation War of Bangladesh.
This historic demand assumed its rightful place as agenda item 3 during the 53rd session of the UN Human Rights Council, which took place from June 19th to July 14th. The call reverberated powerfully across the chambers of international diplomacy, capturing the attention of none other than UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
In a resounding display of unity, the statement bearing this urgent appeal was presented by the Bangladeshi diaspora organization BASUG, This organization enjoys the special consultative status of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN. Standing shoulder to shoulder with them were Aamra Ekattor, Projonmo ’71, European Bangladesh Forum, and Seraji Foundation.
This momentous statement, emphatically restating the imperative need for “International Recognition of the 1971 genocide,” was disseminated in strict accordance with ECOSOC resolution 1996/31. The proclamation unwaveringly asserted that the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh was not an act of chance but a meticulously planned and executed atrocity, orchestrated by the Pakistan military.
It stands as one of the most appalling mass atrocities witnessed since the aftermath of the Second World War, casting a long shadow over humanity’s conscience. The toll is staggering – three million lives extinguished, over two hundred thousand women subjected to unspeakable horrors. Further, ten million souls were forced into an agonizing exodus across the border into India, leaving behind their ancestral homes. Additionally, more than twenty million citizens were uprooted from their homes and cast adrift in search of sanctuary.
The statement added, “Pakistani Military and their helping hand from this country, the Rajakars’ sinister objective was nothing short of an audacious attempt to reshape the very essence of the Bangalee race. Organized and systematic rape was wielded as a weapon of war, a cruel and calculated strategy aimed at inflicting indelible scars on the spirit of a people.”
Furthermore, the Pakistan army and its malevolent collaborators – the Razakars, Al-Badr, and Al-Shams – acting under the direct orders of the army’s high command, systematically targeted the intellectual and professional heart of Bangladesh. This malevolent act of spite and malice stood out amidst the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians. Its purpose was clear – to stifle the intellectual breath of a nation, to cripple it in its quest for progress and enlightenment.
The statement referenced historic documents and academic research, lending unwavering support to the demand.