The Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs was established in 2006 as part of the fifth cabinet of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) with a directive to serve genocide survivors and their families, including working to achieve material and financial compensation for the victims.
The KRG is also taking steps in providing health, education and social services to the victims, victims’ families, and the thousands of widows of genocide. For example, the KRG provides concessions for children of Anfal to encourage them to go to university.
The KRG does what it can but it needs the international community to provide help and assistance. For example, a new hospital is being built in Halabja but there is a lack of experts and specialists to deal with the specific illnesses the survivors have been suffering, in the case of Halabja these are respiratory-related illnesses.
One of the more recent projects by the former Prime Minister Barham Salih involves building 654 homes and schools for families of the victims and a steel manufacturing plant in the towns of Chamchamal and Shoresh.
The KRG has also established a forensics centre to process DNA identification and matching of the victims with their families.
Under Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani, international recognition of the Kurdish genocide has become of one of the key policy priorities of the KRG. Prime Minister Barzani (appointed in April 2012) in his inaugural speech highlighted international recognition of the Kurdish genocide and Iraq’s mass graves as priorities of the government.
Prime Minister Barzani said that it is the national and patriotic duty of the Kurdistan Region to transfer the bodies of the victims scattered in mass grave across Iraq back to Kurdistan.
The Prime Minister also called on Iraq’s Ministry of Human Rights to better cooperate with the KRG in order for the mass graves to be discovered and uncovered in a scientific manner that would meet the basic global standards.
The Prime Minister further called on the Parliament, ministers and the Kurdish participants in the Iraqi Government to do their part and cooperate with the Iraqi Government to fulfill this national duty.
Minister of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs, Sabah Ahmed Mohamed, emphasizes the importance of the Kurdish Diaspora in the drive for international recognition of these crimes. Raising awareness of the genocide internationally is one of the key areas of the KRG’s work overseas and cooperation with the Kurdish community in the key countries such as Britain, the United States, and Europe is crucial.