Last week, the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) held an annual conference entitled Remembering the Halabja genocide and the use of chemical weapons against Kurds in the European Parliament. Contributions were made by members of the European Parliament, representatives from a variety of Kurdish civil society organisations, political parties and by medical experts and victims of the chemical attacks. You can download a copy of the programme here (doc). Below are the final declarations from the conference, which are also available for download here (doc), as well as an article about the conference reposted from AK News.
HALABJA CONFERENCE, 8 March 2012: Final Declarations
We, the speakers and participants of the conference on the 8th of March 2012 on REMEMBERING THE HALABJA GENOCIDE AND THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS AGAINST KURDS have decided on the following as our final declaration:
Our conference was held on International Women’s Day (8th of March). All participants celebrated International Women’s day and showed solidarity with the oppressed women and oppressed people of the world by expressing sympathy with the struggle for democracy and human rights across the globe.
The participants of our conference – which consisted of human rights activists, politicians, victims of the Halabja and Roboski massacres and academics from Turkey, Kurdistan and Europe – discussed the genocide policies applied throughout history and presently to the Kurdish people as seen in the massacres of Roboski and Kazan Valley.
Our conference recognized that the most well known of the genocides against the Kurdish people was the genocide carried out by Saddam’s regime in Halabja in 1988. However, it was also said that the Kurds are currently facing policies of genocide on a daily basis.
Our conference has determined that the genocides suffered by the Kurdish people have derived from the denial and annihilation policies of the sovereign states under which the Kurds are living.
Our conference has inferred that these genocides have at times been carried out with the direct or indirect support of European states by overriding their own democratic values; therefore, the approach of EU states and international organizations to the Kurdish question has been condemned. It has been called upon the EU states and international organizations to cease helping these states on grounds of historical and democratic norms.
Our conference is calling on international organizations to officially recognize the Halabja massacre as genocide and move to ensure that the undertakers of the Roboski massacre will be held responsible and brought to account for their actions.
Our demands to the EU, international organizations and Iraqi authorities regarding Halabja:
- We call upon the EU and UN to formally recognize these crimes as genocide.
- To be against any policy that may lead to a repeat of such crimes against the Kurdish nation or any other nation.
- We call upon the Iraqi government to materially compensate the victims and the Kurdish nation. At the same time the Iraqi government should ensure a minute silence for the remembrance of the Halabja Genocide every year on the 16th of March.
- European Parliament needs to work on requesting the Iraqi government to provide an official apology to the Kurdish nation and undertake steps for such action.
- The EU governments need to cooperate with the Iraqi government and the KRG – who have already officially accepted Halabja as genocide – for international recognition of crimes against Kurds as genocide and through various policies to support the Kurdish identity in the neighboring countries where Kurds live.
- We call upon the European Parliament to work for recognizing the 16th of March as an international day against chemical weapons and mass destruction
Our demands to the EU and international organizations regarding Roboski:
On the 28th of December 2011 between the hours of 21:30-22:30 Turkish Fighter Jets bombed a group of civilians in the village of Roboski, Sirnak, who were on their way back having earlier crossed the border into Iraq. As a result of this bombardment a total of 35 civilians of which 17 were children tragically lost their lives, 1 person was injured and 2 people escaped with no injuries. Although the massacre occurred 71 days ago the fact that the details of the massacre have not been fully disclosed shows that the state have played a part in this massacre.
At this present time we are no longer discussing the reality of the massacre, but rather, by who and why this massacre was carried out?
As a result of this attack 35 people’s right to life was taken from them. This, without a doubt, carries this message: if you do not accept the denial and annihilation policies of the Turkish state you will be annihilated.
We demand that the Turkish state finds the people responsible for this massacre and demand that international organizations investigate the incident and make sure the people responsible are brought to justice.
1- We demand that this attack is acknowledged as an extrajudicial killing and due to the numbers killed should be accepted as a mass killing.
2- That this is a continuation of the extrajudicial killings carried out under the name of “struggle against Terror”.
3- That the insistence of force in the solution of the Kurdish question forms the basis of such dark acts of violence, and so the UN and EU should pressurize Turkey to adopt a more peaceful and democratic approach for the solution of the Kurdish question.
4- For national and international civil society organizations to show awareness by investigating further.
5- Finally, we call upon the human rights committees of the UN, EC and EU to send delegations to the region for full investigation
BRUSSELS, March 8 (AKnews) – The Halabja genocide and the use of chemical weapons against Kurds were discussed today in the European Parliament by politicians, academics and Kurdish organizations.
In addition to covering the history and political background, the event also focused on responsibility and on the role of the international community for the recognition of the Kurdish massacres as genocide.
The conference was opened this morning by Jürgen Klute, German Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from the European United Left/Nordic Green Left.
“The European Parliament is good place for commemoration of the Halabja genocide, because here people from different countries come together and try to solve peacefully the conflicts,” he said.
“The origin of the European Union is in the wars all over Europe. Like in the Kurdish case, the tragedies, which happened, can not be undone, but we can remember the victims and restore some of their dignity”.
Klute pointed out that the daily life of Kurds in different regions is still marked by violence and suffering, giving as example the recent poison attacks by the Turkish army against Kurds in Kazan Valley and in the village of Robosky where 34 Kurdish youths were killed.
“The European Union has responsibility not only to contribute to the peace in the region by political and economical means, but also to end the weapons’ supply to countries in conflict”, said the MEP, adding that “the poisonous gas used in Halabja massacre originated from Germany and other European countries”.
Minister from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Sabah Ahmad Mohammad could not attend personally the conference and instead sent a video message.
Mohammad gave many examples of massacres committed against Kurds by the regime of Saddam Hussein, such as the deportation of Barzani tribes from their villages in 1983, the Anfal campaign in 1988 – which aimed to destroy the rural areas populated by Kurds – and the Halabja chemical gas attack in 1988.
“Today these crimes are internally recognized by Iraq and the international community should also recognize them as genocides”, said Mohammad.
He explained that the KRG is working on the establishment of lobbies, groups for support and advisory committees which will work in cooperation with the Kurdish ministries to achieve international recognition of the atrocities committed against Kurdish people.
Demir Celik, MP from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party in Turkey, spoke about the violence against the people of Mesopotamia from ancient times until today.
“Kurds from the four parts of divided Kurdistan went through legendary sufferings, which still continue in many places today. The hegemonic, assimilation policies of the countries in the Middle East oppress the Kurdish people and deprive them from their fundamental human rights”.
Celik concluded that even in the twenty-first century thousands of Kurdish “thoughts prisoners” are forcibly removed from democratic participation in the life of the countries where they live and “it’s the duty of all of us to fight for the rights of the Kurdish people”.
Nejeeba Omer from Women Movement for Freedom in the Kurdistan Region criticized the “Western countries, which care only about their own democratic and peaceful existence, but don’t support oppressed people in other countries”.
Omer pointed out that “as history shows, often women are the main victims of the massacres against Kurds and they need moral and economical support to join the struggle for freedom and participate equally in all spheres of life”.
The discussion will continue until the adoption of a final declaration late this evening.
By Roni Alasor and Lorin Sarkisian