BANGLADESH: Asian Women Rights Groups Support War Crimes Trial

Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The Daily Star
Southern Asia
PeaceWomen Consolidated Themes: 
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

Representatives of several Asian rights and women groups yesterday expressed solidarity with Bangladesh initiatives to try 1971 perpetrators of crimes against humanity particularly against women.

They expressed the solidarity on the concluding day of a three-day international workshop in the city.

“Rape and other forms of sexual violence against women in 1971 did constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and/ or a constitutive act with respect to genocide',” said a special resolution of the workshop.

The resolution was read out at a press conference at the National Press Club.

It added: “We demand that the perpetrators of rape and forms of sexual violence against Bangladeshi women during 1971 be prosecuted as war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide at the appropriate forum.”

A number of women and rights activists from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Thailand and Indonesia joined the three-day meet at the BRAC Inn to review implications of “rising fundamentalism” on working women.

The workshop took the “special resolution” on trial of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity during the Bangladesh's 1971 War of Liberation.

“We are so sorry that the Pakistani troops did it with women here . . . It's our shame for us as women of Pakistan,” Akleema Naz of Anjuman Muzareen Punjab of Pakistan told the press conference.

Naz said many women like her in Pakistan felt their government should seek apology to Bangladesh for violence against women in 1971.

Karmojibi Nari (KN), a forum of working women in Bangladesh, hosted the regional meet as a member of Thailand- based Committee for Asian Women.

KN President Shirin Akhtar and General Secretary Sharmin Kabir, Shuvecchha Adhikari and Phoebe So of the Committee for Asian Women and Secretary of Sri Lankan National Free Trade Union Leon Joseph also spoke at the press conference.

The declaration of the workshop also condemned the violation of women workers' rights and freedom as a “consequence of unfair neo-liberal domination”.

The press conference was dedicated to the memories of Awami League leader and women rights veteran Ivy Rahman, who was killed in the gruesome August 21, 2004 grenade attack on a political rally at Bangabandhu Avenue in the city.