US House and Senate members commemorate Halabja genocide

Members voice warnings to prevent future slaughter, call for helping victims

Washington, US (KRG.org) – The 1988 genocide of more than 5,000 Kurds in the town of Halabja by Saddam Hussein was commemorated on the floors of the US House of Representatives and Senate. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Howard Berman and Senator Joe Lieberman yesterday issued statements recalling the horrors of the chemical attacks, while also demanding help for those who survived.

Chairman Berman (D-CA) said the slaughter at Halabja was “one of modern history’s most horrific crimes.” Berman said it is imperative that the Halabja massacre and the larger genocide against the Kurds conducted in the Anfal campaign, be “documented and remembered – and internationally recognised as a crime of genocide against the Kurdish people.”

“The world must not only remember the individuals who perished but also provide help to those that continue to suffer today. That would be an appropriate way for the world to bear witness to crimes that are among the ugliest the world has seen,” Chairman Berman said.

At least 5,000 people died as an immediate result of the chemical attack on March 16, 1988. Thousands more were injured or suffered long-term illness and birth defects after being exposed to the noxious mix of nerve agents. The attack against Halabja remains the largest-scale chemical weapons assault directed against a civilian-populated area in history.

“What happened in Halabja should remind us that there is, unfortunately, such a thing as evil in the world, and that we in the United States not only protect our security but uphold our most cherished humanitarian values when we fight against it,” said Senator Lieberman (I-CT) on the Senate floor.

Lieberman said that in pausing to remember the Halabja horror, “We should also give thanks to the extraordinary progress that has been achieved since that terrible day 21 years ago – progress that has been made possible through the courage and sacrifice of Kurds, Iraqis and Americans alike.”

Original story posted on KRG website.

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