KRG High Representative presents Lambeth Town Hall with a Sculpture commemorating the Halabja Genocide

Alternate Text News : 11/3/2023

On Wednesday, November 01st, 2023, High Representative to the UK, Karwan Jamal Tahir, attended a special unveiling ceremony event in honour of the victims of the 1988 Halabja massacre during the genocidal Anfal campaign against the Kurdish people.

This sculpture commemorates the victims of the atrocity and genocide against the Kurdish population of Halabja, and it is being presented by the High Representative of the Kurdistan Region to the Mayor of Lambeth, Cllr Sarbaz Barznji, in recognition of his support and the first commemoration of the Halabja massacre in Lambeth Town Hall in March 2023 and will be displayed and stay in the Town Hall.

The unveiling ceremony was well attended by many in the community and was hosted by the Mayor of Lambeth, Cllr Sarbaz Barznji, in which the High Representative addressed the attendees.

Read the High Representative’s speech below:

“I am honoured to be here today at this special gathering to honour the victims from a peaceful and resilient Kurdish nation that has strived for and been devoted to peace and democracy throughout history.

“I am particularly grateful, and it is one of the most significant and emotional moments of my tenure as High representative to the UK to attend – the unveiling of the memorial monument, remembering and honouring the victims of Halabja city who were unlawfully massacred under the rule of Saddam Husain the dictatorial regime, where 5000 innocent men, women, and children were brutally murdered within a matter of hours and injuring a further 10,000 civilians by the chemical bombardment of the city on the 16th of March 1988.

“The regime intended to commit genocide and ethnically cleanse the Kurdish nation to destroy the voice of our freedom forever. 

“The Kurds survived and prospered as the indigenous inhabitants on their own land and inside their own nation – But the tyrant and the dictatorial regime were overthrown.

“Subsequently, the Kurdish cause and their legitimate narratives were acknowledged and realised internationally due to their significant role in preserving peace and stability.

“For the last three decades, there has been a huge transformation for the region;

  • From being an oppressed people - to a very developed and progressed region. 
  • From rejecting being subordinate - to a nation that enjoys autonomy in a federated state that developed economically and socially despite the challenges, we endured with the federal state over the constitutional dispute.

“The region also plays a substantial role regionally and internationally, contributing to preserving security and stability in the region.

Ladies and gentlemen

“We remember our past to safeguard and build the future, and one important mandate that the Kurdistan Region and the Kurdish community have is to; 

  • ensure that people from every background are educated about our history and the Halabja,
  • raising awareness worldwide about what we endured, and for the important lessons to be learned for today - that this must never happen again.

“We are blessed with the level of support we receive here in the UK; we maintain robust bilateral ties with the government and massive support from the MPs and Lords. 

“They have been instrumental in many positive steps between the UK and Kurdistan, and one of them was the formal recognition by the (UK Parliament) House of Commons of the Anfal genocide in February 2013.

“I have to acknowledge the role of the Kurdish community here in the UK in further enhancing the relationship between KRI and the UK.

“We are incredibly proud of those with Kurdish roots who are making a positive impact here in the UK and representing the very best of the Kurdish nation.

“They are contributing politically, economically and socially within the British society – one of the best examples we have with us today, is the host - Mr Mayor Sarbaz Barzinji.

“As a Kurd and High Representative of the Kurdistan Region, I deeply value the mayor’s efforts and devotion to all communities in Lambeth, including the Kurdish community.

“I have to say how grateful I was when Mayor Sarbaz Barzinji hosted a commemoration rally for the Halabja massacre here in March this year. 

“I also recognise his effort in obtaining permission to inaugurate a monument here at Lamberth Town Hall, reflecting the suppression the Kurds endured but also representing their resilience and the enduring spirit of the Kurdish people.

“I was happy to support this project and be able to find a sponsor for this monument and dedicate it to Lambeth Borough. It was sculptured in the Kurdistan Region by a Kurdish sculptor and transferred to London. 

“It is an honour and privilege that today, at the Mayor's Parlour in Lambeth, we unveil the monument of Halabja to stand in this great town hall to proudly represent the resilience and devotion of a nation and community for peace and democracy.

“Not only that but also raising the Kurdish flag in the Town Hall, which many heroes have fallen beneath to protect the Kurdish nation and humanity, particularly.

“I am pleased that this day coincides with the liberation of the town of Kobani from the jihadist group (ISIS), where 9 years ago, the besiege of Kobani brought together the Kurdish people against a common enemy in a "transcendent moment" - when for the first time the Kurdistan Region have sent Peshmerga forces, heavy weapons, and ammunition to Kobani to assist the Kurdish fighters in the fight against the militant group.

“This is a powerful message of what we can achieve through unity and cooperation."

“Thank you, Mayor, thank you all for being here; we believe that together, we will ensure that this history, as well as the victims and survivors of the Halabja massacre, are never forgotten.

“And being among our good friends and colleagues demonstrates that Kurdistan has more friends than the mountains.”

The End