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The two-page document that recognises the 1971’s genocide

At the time of its birth, Bangladesh experienced one of the worst genocides of the century, one that is yet to be duly recognised all over the globe. On the last day of Bangladesh's 50th anniversary, the Lemkin Institute for Genocide Prevention (LIGP), a USA based organisation dealing with genocide prevention related research, cracked the recognition deadlock by issuing a statement. Genocide scholars like Irene Victoria Massimino and Elisa von Joeden-Forgey, the co-founders and co-presidents of the Institute, and their team at the LIGP worked hard to come up with the wordings of the document titled as "Statement on the Bangladesh Genocide of 1971". This two-page document clearly recognises the atrocities committed in 1971 as genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. "Given the lack of a broad international recognition of the crimes", the LIGP through its statement categorically "calls upon the international community, including the UN, to urgently recognise the Bengali genocide as a way to pay tribute to the victims and to hold perpetrators accountable."

The LIPG works with people around the world to promote genocide prevention, human security, restorative dialogue, mental health literacy, and peace-building education and training as well as to offer tools for grassroots responses to conflict. In the process, it seeks to inform the world about global grassroots efforts to end the cycle of genocide.

For celebrating the golden jubilee of Bangladesh liberation war as well as the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh genocide, it collaborated with the Liberation War Museum in Dhaka to run a project called as "1971 Genocide in Bangladesh: A Micro-course". The project contains five segments that cover five vital aspects of liberation war and genocide in Bangladesh. These are the emergence of Bangladesh and its historical struggle towards independence; refugee crisis; victims of sexual violence; killing of intellectuals; and international crimes tribunal.

Alongside, the LIGP has been working on the issue of the Bangladesh genocide for a while both in historical and legal terms. They are convinced that what happened to Bengalis in 1971 was genocide, and that the West Pakistan's policies prior to 1971 were genocidal in intent and nature.

Due to their capacity and clarity on this very case, they did serve this vital statement with confidence, and probably this is the first document of this nature from any international organisation. Undoubtedly this is a historic move, which is not only a great tribute to the innocent millions who were the victims of Bangladesh genocide, it would also pave the way to all other organisations and countries to come forward to endorse the atrocities occurred in 1971 as a case of genocide. Finally, the LIPG statement is an instrumental addition for the long journey of achieving due international recognition of the Bangladesh genocide.


(c) 2022, The Daily Star


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