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We urge the US Government to formally recognize the Anfal operations, Arab Belt-Arabization of vast territories in Iraqi Kurdistan, and chemical weapon use as acts of genderside and Genocide against the people of Iraqi Kurdistan and to encourage the EU and UN to do likewise. This will enable Kurdish Americans, many in the US, to achieve recognition for this crimes against humanity as acts of genocide against a group for their ethnic identity and achieve justice for their considerable loss. It would also enable United States, the home of democracy and freedom, to send out a message of support for international conventions and human rights. The Genocide perpetrated over decades, known collectively as the Anfal, began with the Arabization of villages around Kirkuk in 1963. It involved the deportation and disappearances of Faylee Kurds in the 1970s-80s, the murder of 8,000 male Barzanis in 1983, the use of chemical weapons in the late 1980s, most notably against Halabja, and finally the Anfal campaign of 1987-88. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people perished, families were torn apart, with continuing health problems, and 4,500 villages were destroyed between 1976 and 1988 undermining the potential of Iraqi Kurdistan's agricultural, natural and water resources. The genocide campaign was gendercide and genocidal in nature. The Swedish and Norwegian Parliaments recognized the Genocide of the Kurds last year followed by the British Parliament recognizing the Genocide of Kurds. The Canadian Parliament is considering a similar motion led by the honorable MP Jim Kargyannis.
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the horrific massacre by Saddam Hussein's regime of over 5,000 innocent civilians in a chemical weapons attack on the city of Halabja, in Iraq's Kurdistan Region. At least 10,000 people were blinded and maimed, as townspeople choked on a mixture of mustard gas and nerve agents. This terrible crime against humanity was but one of many in Hussein's Anfal Campaign, in which tens of thousands of innocent civilian Kurds were slaughtered. Many others died later of cancer and other illnesses, and the legacy of chemical contamination persists.
The attack on Halabja on 16 March 1988 was the most notorious act of chemical warfare in modern times. Researchers believe the environmental contamination passed not only into the soil and water, but also into the gene pool, with abnormal numbers of children since being born with genetic disorders and malformations.