To protect their rights and survival

The Centre of Halabja against Anfalization and Genocide of the Kurds – CHAK 

Subject: Recognizing Halabja Chemical Attacks & Anfal Campaign as crimes of Genocide against the Kurds

Historical Background:

Kurds are the largest nation in today’s modern and democratic world without their own state. Kurdistan "the land of Kurds" which is located in the mountain regions of Zagros and Taurus "Southwest Asia"  have been divided into four separate and unstable parts of eastern Turkey, northern Iraq, north-western Iran and north Syria since the end of the 1st World War following the fall of Ottomans Empire. Ever since the Kurds have been denied their fundamental and basic rights to live in peace and harmony by the same countries and regimes where their land has been divided among them. Furthermore, they were subjected to all sorts of oppression and atrocities such as mass killings, kidnapping, massacres, and genocide. Their fate and destiny have been decided by the outsiders and oppressors instate of the right to self-determination and respect for their dignity as human beings equal in rights with other nations.  The last century has been known as the century of war (WWI, WWII, Cold War, Korean and Vietnam War and Desert Storm I &II), human rights violations, ethnic cleansing and genocide.  Despite the enormous attempt to secure our chaotic world into a more stable, peaceful and justice for all, these steps have come into shortages and weaknesses due to the fact that much of the outcomes are still decided by outside forces that seem to be far behind control and containment. Subsequently, more innocent lives have been lost and more destruction has been done for no reason.

Anfal Campaign

The most brutal atrocity was the genocide campaign, known as Al- Anfal campaign in 1988, which resulted in the disappearance of more than 182,000 innocent Kurdish men, women and children. The Iraqi Baath- regime used chemical and biological weapons in its attacks on Halabja and surrounded areas in Iraqi-Kurdistan, which resulted in the killing of more than 5,000 men, women and children in addition to wounding and disabling more than tens of thousands individuals.

Anfal operations were a systematic campaign against the Kurds in Southern Kurdistan (North Iraq) to eradicate the rural residents by arresting and forcefully transferring the whole population into detention camps between the Iraqi and Kuwaiti borders.  Husbands and wives were separated from their children later; younger adults were also isolated from the elder men. Raping girls and women was common practice of the guards to humiliate the female population. Torturing the younger men to death by mutilating and burning certain parts of the body was also a routine practice by the regime. At the end, all the detainees of the camps were massacred and some burned alive in the desert.  The whole operation was carried out under the command of the notorious mass murderer, Ali Hassan al-Majid known as "Chemical Ali" and under the direct command of Saddam Hussein.  It started on 22nd February 1988 and lasted until 6th September 1988.  The former Iraqi regime officials, under the direct supervision of Saddam Hussein, are responsible for planning, ordering, supporting, and implementing Anfal Campaign.  The campaign was directed toward the rural population of Iraqi Kurdistan (north Iraq). It resulted in the destruction of more than 4,500 villages and the disappearance and killing of more than 182,000 men, women, and children and burning millions of trees and tens of thousands of orchards and livestock. This violence campaign not only destroyed the Kurds population in larger numbers, but it has also changed and ruined the geography of the land. The word Anfal is the name of the eighth "8th" Sura "Chapter" of the Holy Book of Qur’an and it means "spoilers of war".   Saddam Hussein tried to justify the killing of the rural Kurds and looting their possessions and belongings as a holy war against infidels as if he was repeating what the previous regimes and tyrannies had done to innocent and minority groups in the course of history by labelling them as outsiders or unbelievers. It’s clear that the Iraqi regime was ready to use and abuse any religion doctrine to deny the fundamental right of human being to the Kurds individuals, which is the right of existence as a respected member of an ethnic group or nationality. Such brutal and inhumane regime was also able to violate any universal principles of human rights for the sake of survival and fulfilment of its racial agenda.

The Human Rights Watch stated in its findings which later was published in a book under the name "Genocide in Iraq – Anfal Campaign against the Kurds" that between 22nd February and 6th September 1988 Iraq committed the crime of genocide against the rural Kurds.  This finding was a conclusion of studying and analysing more than sixteen metric tons of Iraqi captured documents. The Iraqi High Tribunal Court (IHT) convicted both of the defendants Saddam Hussein and Ali Hassan Al-Majid "Chemical Ali" as the perpetrators and organizers of the Anfal Campaign against the innocent Kurds, and it also recognized such crimes as genocide. The new Republic of Iraq had just recently issued an Executive resolution on September 10, 2008 under the article 26 confirming the Iraqi Parliament proposal in respect to recognizing the Anfal Campaign as Genocide against the Kurds.


The painful memory of atrocities such as Vietnam, Halabja, Balkan, Rwanda, and Darfur are still fresh in our minds. We are still feeling shameful, remorse and to some degree perhaps guilty for not doing enough to prevent all or some of these atrocities.  It’s true that we are still separated in political and religion aspects. But today’s world is much different and more advanced than before due to the fact that we are more closer and integrated in economical and social aspects..  Nevertheless, there is still hope to have a more peaceful and just world if we decide to follow our collective conscious, rational, and wise thinking through careful planning, acting, and supporting of one another.  We feel responsible for our fellow human beings around the world including the unstable region of Middle East where an ethnic group such as the Kurds is at risk and under direct threat. Therefore; we ask the international community to fulfil its responsibility by supporting our campaign to achieve its goals of:

* Recognizing the atrocities of the Anfal Campaign and Halabja Chemical Attack as an act of Genocide against the Kurds by the former Iraqi regime which occurred between February 22nd and September 6th   of 1988 and 1989. Recognizing such crime and punishing its perpetrators would help to prevent similar future threats against minority groups such as Kurds.
* Dedicating 16th of March "the date of the chemical attack of the city of Halabja" as the universal day against the proliferation of chemical and biological weapons in the world.

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The Centre of Halabja against Anfalization and Genocide of the Kurds – CHAK