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Anfal Remembrance Day

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The British Kurdish community held its commemoration for Anfal Remembrance Day on 7 April.

The Kurdish people living in Iraq were targeted by Saddam Hussein, who in 1988 determined to wipe them out. He launched a genocide campaign that was code named Anfal which killed around 182,000 men, women and children.

This campaign saw the use of chemical weapons, including at Halabja, and the destruction of 4,500 villages. At this year’s event survivors told their experiences of being targeted by the regime then in power in Iraq.

Taban Shoresh explained how when just four years old, she and her mother were arrested and taken to prison. After two weeks they were taken away to be buried alive in the countryside. A brave driver set them free, telling them to run away and hide, saving their lives.

Falah Mustafa, Head of the Kurdistan Regional Government Department of Foreign Relations, spoke at the event. Other speakers included Foreign Office Minister Rt Hon Hugh Robertson MP,  His Excellency Faik Nerweyi, Iraqi Ambassador to the UK and Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, Kurdistan Regional Government High Representative to the UK. Meg Munn MP co-chair of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq All-Party Parliamentary Group also spoke.

Meg’s contribution included the following:

"We speak of 182,000 people dying and are horrified by the number. We need to keep in mind that these were all individuals and should be mourned. Hearing individual accounts by survivors can help us to remember that truth.

Following the Anfal genocide the United Nations introduced the doctrine of ‘Responsibility to Protect’, which recognises the moral duty of the international community to intervene. Yet today the world is turning away from the death and destruction in Syria. We are failing to live up to that responsibility."

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