Photo: Demostation in from of AI.
A peaceful demonstration has taken place today the 28th of February 2013 in front of Amnesty International, London, organised by International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF) in collaboration with members of Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK, including secular campaign groups such as Projonmo ‘71, Ekatturer Ghatok Dalal Nirmul Committee, War Crimes Trial Stage, Centre for Secular Space and Friends of Chatra Union. The aim of the demonstration was to protest a number of statements and reports published by Amnesty International concerning the International Crimes Tribunal (ICT) of Bangladesh and its process that are perceived as misleading and disproportionate to the victims of 1971 liberation war of Bangladesh.
The role of the international civil society actors such as Amnesty International has not been adequately supportive to the on-going justice process at the ICT. Amnesty International, in particular, has issued a number of statements which often appeared oblivious to the real creed and overwhelming public opinion favouring justice for the victims of 1971, often focussing disproportionately on the rights of the perpetrators responsible for Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide and War Crimes. These statements have often been used, abused, and misrepresented by those quarters who are effectively opposed to justice in perpetuating impunity, thus largely being unhelpful to the on-going process. The demonstrating organisations expressed concern that this has resulted in the victims of 1971 being let down, confidence in the justice process being undermined, as well as misperceptions and confusions being created as to the true nature and significance of the justice process at the ICT.
The gathering in the demonstration, echoing the spirit of ‘Shahbag’, the uprising of millions for justice, generally criticised the role of prominent international civil society actors such as Amnesty International. The demonstration, in particular, called on Amnesty International to prioritise the rights of the victims so that they are not let down further, and also to stand by the process to help remedy breaches of human rights as grave as 1971 genocide.
International Crimes Strategy Forum (ICSF) is a coalition of activists and organisations committed to the cause of bringing to justice the perpetrators of international crimes during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971. The coalition comprises of 13 different organisations, namely, Bangladesh Centre for Genocide Studies, Sachalayatan, Amar Blog, Muktomona, Cadet College Blog, E-Bangladesh, Nagorik Blog, Genocide Bangladesh Archive, Muktangon, Amra Bondhu blog, London Lawyers Forum, News Bangla and Radio Hoi Choi. United, the coalition stands against all forms of impunity.