KRG High Representative attends the 36th Halabja Genocide Commemoration

Alternate Text News : 3/17/2024

Portsmouth, United Kingdom, The Kurdish House Portsmouth organised a poignant ceremony yesterday in the D-Day Story Museum to mark the 36th anniversary of the Halabja Genocide, one of the most horrific atrocities committed during the Iraqi Kurdish Genocide in the late 1980s.

Karwan Jamal Tahir, the High Representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to the United Kingdom, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Portsmouth, several Members of Parliament, local councillors, and members of the Kurdish diaspora community attended the event.

On March 16, 1988, the Iraqi regime led by Saddam Hussein launched a brutal chemical attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja, killing an estimated 5,000 civilians and injuring thousands more. This massacre was part of the larger Anfal Campaign that aimed to systematically exterminate the Kurdish population in Kurdistan Region of Iraq, killing an estimated 182,000 in a few short years.

"The Halabja Genocide was an unspeakable crime against humanity that must never be forgotten," said KRG High Representative Karwan Jamal Tahir. "We gather today to honour the memory of the innocent lives lost and renew our commitment to pursuing justice and building a world free from such atrocities."

The High Representative continued, “We were grateful to the House of Commons which officially recognised the Anfal as a genocide in February 2013… and we are also pleased that, as a result of this vote, the British Government now officially marks Anfal Day every year.”

During the ceremony, survivors shared harrowing accounts of the genocide's impact on their lives and communities.

The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth praised the resilience of the Kurdish people and reaffirmed the city's solidarity with them. "We stand united against all forms of oppression, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity," he stated.

The event served as a powerful reminder of the need to educate future generations about the horrors of the Halabja Genocide and similar tragedies, while promoting peace, human rights, and reconciliation worldwide. At the end of the event, after a moment of silence the guests laid flowers on the memorial garden of Halabja.