English translation of statement from the Halabja Chemical Victims Society
On March 16, 1988, the regime of Saddam Hussein used deadly chemical weapons against the people of Halabja, killing 5,000 innocent civilians, most of whom were women and children, and injuring 10,000 more in a matter of minutes. The attack was only the latest in a decades-long campaign of genocide by the Iraqi state.
We, the family members of the Halabja victims, have always hoped that our city would be the last to suffer from such weapons of mass murder. Unfortunately there are still companies and states that produce and use these forbidden weapons. Most recently, chemical weapons were used by the regime of Syria against its own people, as well as by the terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against Kurdish Peshmerga forces.
We have urged states and the international community to prevent the recurrence of mass murder in Kurdistan and other places around the world. Tragically, a few years after the toppling of the regime of Saddam Hussein, the people of Kurdistan suffered another genocide at the hands of ISIL, which killed thousands of Yezidis, Christians and other minorities in Shingal, Iraqi Kurdistan, and has left hundreds of thousands stranded as displaced people. More than 3,000 women and children were kidnapped and were later sold and bought in the markets under the control of this terrorist group.
This crime is genocide according to all international laws and criteria, which is why we should all work together to bring international pressure to recognize these crimes as such. The best solution to prevent future genocides is to recognize these crimes at an international level and try the perpetrators in court, so that the victims and their families can see justice.
Leaving the Kurdish problem unsolved in the Middle East and the lack of an independent Kurdish entity is the main reason why the Kurds continuously face genocide, and we urge all people to help us in finding solutions to this problem and ensure the return of our rights as a nation and secure our liberation from other countries’ control.
The Halabja Chemical Victims Society, on behalf of the families of the victims of the chemical attacks, expresses its thanks to all individuals, organizations, and nations that sympathize with us and advocate for our rights. We urge them to recognize as genocide all the crimes that were committed against Kurds in Halabja, the Anfal Genocide, and the mass killing of Yezidis. Only through recognition and justice for the martyrs and victims can reconciliation be achieved, and prevent the occurrence of similar crimes in the future.
Read the original Kurdish version here.