Call to recognize 1971 genocide of Bangladeshis and forced conversion of girls in Pakistan

Washington, DC: On the 47th anniversary of International Women’s Day and while we are observing Women’s History Month in the US, the Hindu Policy Research and Advocacy Collective (HinduPACT) has called for the prosecution of Pakistani army men who were responsible for the rapes of women during the 1971 Bangladeshi genocide in order to prevent forced conversions and trafficking of girls in present-day Pakistan.

“It is important to send a strong message to modern-day aggressors like the Mian Mithoo and other Islamist clerics in Pakistan, that even 50 years from now, they will be held accountable for the crimes that are being committed today against underage girls belonging to the Hindu, Sikh and Christian communities. More than 1000 girls face kidnapping, forced conversion and trafficking with the tacit support of the Pakistan Army every year,” said Rakhi Israni, who leads HinduPACT’s Coalition for Hindu Girls Abducted and their Rights (CHINGARI).

Shreya Mishra, an intern for CHINGARI said, “The Chingari project not only represents the fight to eradicate gender-based violence, but was also created to protect, promote, and celebrate the strength of women across the globe, and highlight the ongoing battle that women face in different regions every single day. Today, I encourage folks to reflect on the current state of gender-based violence across the globe and support the Chingari project and other causes which advocate for the rights of women and girls.”

Utsav Chakrabarti, the Executive Director of HinduPACT said, “More than 50 years after the Pakistan Army perpetrated violence and sexual assault on more than 300,000 women, and killed three million people, the war crimes that were committed have not been recognized as genocide. Not only have the crimes not been recognized, but many of the war criminals went on to become powerful generals and administrators in Pakistan, influencing decision-making even today. On International Women’s Day, we call upon the US and the international community to recognize the genocide of Bangladeshis by Pakistan and take immediate steps to bring to trial the 195 current and former members of the Pakistan Army, who were recorded as being responsible for perpetrating the violence. Prominent genocide prevention watchdogs like Genocide Watch and Lemkin Institute have already recognized what occurred in Bangladesh in 1971 as genocide.”

Image courtesy of (Image courtesy: chingariproject/Instagram)

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