On Tuesday 26 March 2013, the 25th anniversary of Halabja chemical attacks and Anfal Campaign against Kurds has been commemorated in the European Parliament (EP) by an exhibition organized by the KRG and UNPO.
On the occasion of the Halabja/Anfal anniversary, a three-day Halabja Exhibition has been opened in the EP. The event was organized in cooperation with Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) as part of the KRG’s global campaign for recognition of the Kurdish Genocide. The exhibition is supported by the deputy chair of the EP Subcommittee on Human Rights, MEP Joanna Senyszyn. Members of the European Parliament from different political groups attended the opening of the exhibition, among them Hans-Gert Pöttering, former EP President, Ana Gomes, Socialists and Democrats Foreign Affairs Coordinator, Struan Stevenson, Chair of the EP-Iraq Delegation, Jürgen Klute, Chair of the EP-Kurdish Friendship Group and MEP Jim Higgings. Many diplomats, representatives of European and Kurdish NGOs and political parties were also present.
The event was opened by MEP Senyszyn who welcomed the guests and shared her feelings of honour and pride to host the Kurdish exhibition. The Head of KRG Mission to EU, Delaver Ajgeiy presented shortly the historical context of Halabja gas attack and Anfal campaign: “The people of Kurdistan have been victims of internationally recognized crimes committed by the former Iraqi regime and in particular by the Baath regime leaded by Saddam Hussein. At the beginning of the 70s, the Iraqi government carried out an ethnic cleansing programme in Kirkuk, Khaneqin and Sindjar and other areas inhabited by Kurds, Turkmen and other minorities to change the demographic structure of these areas. This annihilation programme continued until 2003. In 80s the Iraqi government was responsible for some ten thousands Feyli Kurds who disappeared without trace. To this day it is not known, but it is believed that they were executed by the Iraqi government. In 1983 the Iraqi government took some 8.000 men and boys from the Barzani tribes. 22 years after their disappearance it has been discovered that they were imprisoned in concentration camps in the south of Iraq, executed and buried in mass graves. At least one hundred eighty two thousand (182.000) people from Kurdistan were killed by the Iraqi regime in the 70s and 80s. The majority of these people were killed from 1978 to 1989 in the genocide campaign that the regime officially called Anfal. During these campaign the Iraqi government abducted and executed tens of thousands of civilians, including large number of woman and children and destroyed our 5 000 of villages”.
Mr. Ajgeiy described the tragic events on 15 March 1988: “The Iraqi military bombarded the town of Halabja with chemical weapons killing at least 5000 civilian, men, women, children, animal, including anything living. The Iraqi military bombarded with chemical weapons many other villages in Kurdistan. In conducting this genocide campaign the Iraqi government destroyed much of the civilian and infrastructure in areas inhabited by Kurds and damaged the environment of Kurdistan. However, this inhuman act has not been taken seriously by the international public opinion and it failed to prevent such acts in the world after Halabja”.
In conclusion of his speech and on behalf of Kurdistan Government, Mr. Ajgeiy urged the European Parliament to recognize formally the Genocide against the people of Iraqi Kurdistan and called the United Nations to do likewise:“We also ask our friends in the European Parliament and other international organisations to play a stronger role in the international recognition of the genocide against Kurds. Kurdistan Region needs resources, as well as help from the international community to deal with the consequences of this genocide. On behalf of the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Kurdish people I would like to thank you all to be here today and a special thanks to all those who have worked hard for this event”.