Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said the Bangladesh genocide committed in 1971 by the Pakistani military is one of the most heinous crimes in human history and regretted that the Bangladesh genocide is yet to be recognised by the international community to the extent the genocide warrants.
“We do not know of another instance of such barbarism of such intensity and mayhem,” Momen said while speaking at a virtual seminar as the chief guest.
The foreign minister said on March 25, 1971, the Pakistan junta undertook the cruel and enormous mayhem of innocent civilian people of Bangladesh in order to suppress the nation's democratic aspirations by sheer force of fear and terror.
He informed that Bangladesh declared March 25 as Genocide Day and Bangladesh is working for getting the date recognised as the International Genocide Day by all the countries in the world.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said 1971 has been the most significant year in the history of Bangladesh.
On one hand, Bangladesh achieved her independence in this very year, on the other hand, the nation experienced the ugliest chapter of brutality, atrocities, indiscriminate killing, raping, looting, and arson to achieve independence, he said, adding that the world witnessed genocide within three decades of the Second World War.
The High Commission for Bangladesh in Canada and the Bangabandhu Centre for Bangladesh Studies (BCBS) in Canada, Liberation War Museum, Bangladesh, Genocide Studies Centre, University of Dhaka, Refugees Resilience Centre and Rotary Club Canada jointly organised the day-long seminar on remembering and recognition of the case of Bangladesh Genocide on 1971 at the Human Rights Museum, Winnipeg, Canada on Wednesday.
High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada and the Chief Patron of the BCBS in Canada Khalilur Rahman and Kawser Ahmed, chief coordinator of the BCBS, Canada, delivered introductory remarks.
Gregory Stanton of Genocide Watch delivered the keynote speech.
David C Newman, rotarian and peace-builder and Canadian patron of the BCBS, James Waller, Cohen professor of the Holocaust and Genocide Studies of Keene State College, New Hampshire, USA, Adam Muller, professor and director of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Manitoba, spoke at the seminar.
In addition, John Adam of the University of British Colombia, Vancouver, Canada, gave a verbal illustration of the Bangladesh genocide which pictures the heinous crimes committed in Bangladesh in 1971.
Joining virtually, Mofidul Hoque, trustee, Liberation War Museum of Bangladesh, and director of Centre for the Study of Genocide and Justice, explained the case of genocide in Bangladesh in 1971.
His statement was followed by presentations by post-genocide generation researchers.
Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, director of the Center for Genocide Studies, University of Dhaka, presented a paper delineating the Bangladesh genocide.
Professor Ahmed said that the Bangladesh genocide fulfils all criteria declared by the UN to get global recognition.
Some members of the victim's families of the genocide also spoke at the seminar.
Professor Nuzhat Chowdhury described the abduction of her father Alim Chowdhury by collaborators of the Pakistan military, the Rajakars, and his subsequent brutal killing just before the independence of Bangladesh.
She explained the international politics behind the dilemma of getting Bangladesh's genocide recognised and urged for an end to such realpolitik.
Towheed Reza Noor, son of Sirajuddin Hossain, described his father's abduction and killing. Martyr Sirajuddin Hossain was a prominent journalist.
He described how the Bengali intellectuals were made victims of genocide committed by the Pakistani military.
Asif Munir, son of Professor Munir Chowdhury, gave the description of his father's abduction and killing during the Bangladesh genocide of 1971 by the collaborators of the Pakistan military, Rajakar, Al Badr and Al Shams.
Meghna Guhathakurta, daughter of Professor Jotirmoy Guhathakurta, who was brutally killed on March 30, 1971, also spoke.
High Commissioner Khalilur Rahman highlighted how Bangladesh's Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led Bengalese towards independence and in a way defined Bengali nationalism.
The high commissioner narrated a few instances of the uncompromising stance of this great leader in safeguarding the interests and dignity of the nation.
He reiterated his commitment to work hard to get recognition of the Bangladesh genocide by the Canadian authorities in addition to establishing a permanent display of the exhibits of the genocide of 1971 and also to inscribing the independence of Bangladesh and placing a portrait of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in the Time Stream of the Human Rights Museum in Winnipeg, Canada.
At the seminar, among others, several videos and documentaries were screened.
Among them, the documentary Stop Genocide made by the illustrious filmmaker Jahir Raihan, who himself became a martyr, was screened.
The Liberation War Museum also presented a poster on the Bangladesh-Canada efforts on recognition of the Bangladesh genocide.
It was the first-ever international seminar on genocide that took place outside Bangladesh with the participation of so many organisations and experts from all over the world.