Poison gas attack on Halabja (March 16, 1988)

Crimes must be recognized as genocide (Press Release)

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) supports the motion 19/26562 of the parliamentary group Die Linke in the German Bundestag – according to which the crimes committed by the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein against the Iraqi Kurds and other population groups in the 1980s should be recognized as genocide crimes. "According to our estimates, up to 500,000 people were killed in northern Iraq during the 35 years of Saddam Hussein's rule," stated Dr. Kamal Sido, the STP's Middle East Consultant. "For years, we have been demanding that the crimes of the so-called Anfal operation must be classified as genocide crimes. It is time for the Bundestag to take the necessary steps." Recently, the STP made the same demand in a human rights report titled "30 Jahre Halabja – Gerechtigkeit für die Opfer des Völkermordes", which was published on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the poison gas attack on the Kurdish city of Halabja (March 16, 1988). The attacks on Halabja were part of the Anfal operation.

"With the Anfal operation, the Iraqi Baathist regime aimed to wipe out the population of Iraqi Kurdistan and to destroy their economy and culture," Sido recalled. "It was a direct attack on the population groups of the Kurds and a clear violation of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide." The largest operations of this campaign were carried out in 1987 and 1988. Between February 23 and September 6, 1988, Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan Al Majid, better known as "Chemical Ali," led an extensive operation against the settlement area of the Kurdish Jaf, against Qeredag, Germiyan, Qalasewike, Dolizey, Shaqlawa, and Rawandoz. A few years before, 8,000 men from Barzan were abducted and murdered. After the fall of the dictatorship, the bodies of a few hundred Barzanis were discovered in mass graves in the south of the country.

"Three years after the end of the attacks on the northern Syrian Kurdish region of Afrin in March 2018, a violation of international law, many Kurds consider political, military, or diplomatic support for Turkey as support for war crimes and human rights violations," Sido explained. "This often includes comparisons to Germany's support for Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. Back then, German know-how had contributed to the production of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and German Leopard tanks were used in the invasion of Afrin." Thus, the Federal Republic of Germany has a historical responsibility – and the human rights violations must be emphatically condemned. Therefore, the STP appealed to all parliamentary groups in the German Bundestag to demand the German government to act accordingly.