Monday, July 15, 2024

Members of Hindu, Muslim Hazara, and Jewish Communities Unite to Demand Justice for 1971 Bangladesh Genocide, Ongoing Hazara Genocide in Afghanistan

Washington, DC – In a powerful display of solidarity, representatives from the Hindu, Hazara, and Jewish communities joined forces on Capitol Hill Thursday for the first of its kind Capitol Hill Briefing to call for justice and immediate action in addressing the atrocities committed during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide, discrimination against the Hazara, Hindu and Jewish communities, and the ongoing Hazara genocide in Afghanistan.

HinduACTion and the Salam-Shalom Hazara Working Group brought pressing issues to light during a public gathering organized by community leaders determined to end these human rights violations.

During the event, HinduACTion leader Paro Sarkar shed light on the distressing situation faced by Hindu and Sikh girls in Afghanistan. Sarkar highlighted the alarming incidents of abduction, trafficking, and forced conversion to Islam, which continue to plague these vulnerable communities. Sarkar emphasized the urgent need for intervention and protection to safeguard the lives and dignity of these girls.

Paro Sarkar said, “What I’ve come to realize in my short stint as an activist is that there is a sense of disbelief and trans-generational trauma that seems to have pervaded the Hindu community, and the atrocities that were carried out during the 1971 genocide were so horrible that we chose not to speak about it. And we hope that those atrocities are never repeated again.” She continued, “Being part of one of the greatest democracies in the world, we have the responsibility to make sure that each of these ethnic cleanings come to light and the radical ideological people that support these types of campaigns against vulnerable ethnic minorities are held accountable and not allowed to get away with it.”

Zeba Mohammed Arif, Representative of the Salam-Shalom Hazara Working Group, spoke about the history of the Hazaras as the indigenous people of Afghanistan and described in detail the atrocities committed against the Hazards by radicalized Islamists over the past century, including declaring them as “infidels” and enslaving their women and children.

Nachman Mostofsky, Executive Director and VP of Amariah, spoke about how Jewish communities have historically found peace and harmony with Hindus and Hazaras. He noted that the three communities continue to face targeted hate in America today. He urged Congress to sanction Pakistan and Iran for their role as the fountainhead of terrorism and added the need to prosecute their enablers in the United States.

Priya Saha, Executive Director of the Human Right Congress of Bangladesh Minorities (HRCBM), described her personal experience as a victim of the 1971 Bangladesh genocide committed in which nearly three million people were murdered by the Pakistan Army over the course of 10 months.

Akram Gizabi of the World Hazara Council called on the U.S. Congress to create a bipartisan lawmaker’s committee to speak on behalf of marginalized indigenous communities like the Hindus, Hazaras, and Yazidis.

The speakers collectively called for immediate action against Pakistan and its allied Islamists in the United States, holding them accountable for their role in perpetuating these heinous acts of violence. The demand for sanctions and justice resonated strongly among the attendees, who expressed their unwavering commitment to ensuring that those responsible are held accountable.

Se Hoon Kim, Convener of the historic Capitol Hill briefing, said, “The atrocities committed during the 1971 Bangladesh genocide and the ongoing Hazara genocide in Afghanistan are not only grave violations of human rights but also represent a direct threat to the principles of peace, harmony, and justice. We stand united as members of diverse communities, sending a clear message that we will not remain silent in the face of such horrific crimes.”

Utsav Chakrabarti, Executive Director of HinduACTION, said, “We call upon the international community to join us in condemning these acts and supporting the victims. It is imperative that Pakistan and its allied Islamists in the U.S. face immediate sanctions and justice for their role in perpetuating these atrocities. We urge governments and organizations worldwide to stand with us as we strive for a world where every individual, regardless of their religious or ethnic background, can live free from persecution and violence.”

The event concluded with a pledge from the Hindu, Jewish, and Hazara communities to continue their collaborative efforts, raising awareness and working toward restoring justice and peace for all affected communities.



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