As many as 182,000 Kurds were killed in the Anfal genocide. File photo: Farzin Hassan / Rudaw
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Nechirvan Barzani, prime minister of the Kurdistan Region, urged the Iraqi government on Saturday to carry out its “moral” duty and compensate victims of the former-Baathist regime’s Anfal campaign.
Sunday marks 31 years since the conclusion of the slaughter, which killed more than 182,000 people.
“We are once again after more than 30 years, commemorating the victims and families of the brutal campaign of Anfal, a campaign which did not care about any limits, as what mattered [to them] was the elimination of women, men, children and the elderly. What mattered was the destruction of life in villages, towns and cities in this part of Kurdistan,” Barzani said in a statement Saturday evening.
“The racist policies of the Baath regime towards our nation, in addition to the intimidation, destruction and the imposition of the draconic authority of Iraq, ended the lives of 180,000 people with heavy weapons and deadly gas and chemical bombing from the skies of Kurdistan,” he added.
The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) deputy leader said the remembrance of Anfal victims is not enough.
“We have to fully assist their families, reconstruct their area and improve their living conditions,” Barzani said.
“This is a moral and historical responsibility” on the part of the Iraqi government to “heal the wound of Anfal and compensate” the family of victims.
Also marking the anniversary on Saturday, the Kurdistan Region’s deputy prime minister, Qubad Talabani, shared an emotional poem on his Instagram account.
“What to recount for you?! How to tell one’s crying, how to write down one’s screaming, how to read juniper” Qubad said of Anfal victims’ final moments.
Ceremonies are held each year on April 14 to mark the anniversary of Anfal.
The Anfal campaign took place over eight phases – beginning in 1986, reaching its peak in 1988, and culminating in the closing weeks of the Iran-Iraq war.
Anfal, the eighth sura in the Quran, was the codename used by the Baathist regime for the slaughter.
The KRG has provided assistance for Anfal survivors and their relatives including tuition fees for studies and housing.
Erbil has also made efforts to secure global recognition of the Anfal as an act of genocide, and to return the remains of victims from mass graves in Iraq’s southern and central deserts for reburial in the Region.
Anfal ceremonies are scheduled to take place in Garmiyan, which saw some of the worst atrocities of the campaign.
“The KRG has made preparations to mark ceremonies for the remembrance of Anfal... it will be held in Garmiyan and it will be held on a high level as leaders, figures and organizations from all parts of Kurdistan will be there,” Baravan Hamdi, the deputy minister of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs, told Rudaw
Other activities marking the anniversary will take place in Chamchamal, Erbil, Duhok, and Soran, including panels and conferences at local universities.
“It is a national question and every Kurdish individual should know about this history,” Hamdi said.