Dutch politician and former Member of Parliament Harry van Bommel, along with a European delegation is on a visit to Bangladesh from May 20-26, where the delegation will investigate the genocide committed by Pakistan in 1971. The mission is an initiative of the European Bangladesh Forum (EBF) and will also consist of genocide scientist Anthonie Holslag (VU), political analyst Chris Blackburn, British EBF chairman Ansar Ahmed Ullah and Dutch EBF chairman Bikash Chowdhury Barua.
The mission’s goal is to obtain firsthand information on the genocide committed by the Pakistani army in Bangladesh during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The delegation tends to meet victims, witnesses, genocide researchers, academics, policymakers and government representatives in Bangladesh. In addition, the team visits a number of killing fields and war museums in and around the capital Dhaka and the second major city Chittagong, according to an official statement.
The mission to Bangladesh takes place at a time when there is worldwide attention for the genocide in Bangladesh. Recently, two members of the US Congress submitted a resolution to the US House of Representatives calling on the President of the United States, Joe Biden, to recognize the crimes against humanity committed by the Pakistani military at the time. In the United Kingdom, too, recognition of the 1971 genocide has been discussed in parliament.
According to delegation leader Van Bommel, “Dutch recognition of this genocide is relevant because in 1972 the Netherlands was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Bangladesh.” According to the official statement, the fact-finding mission will communicate its findings to the Dutch government and the House of Representatives. The European Bangladesh Forum will also organise a conference on the findings.