ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani on Monday marked the 40th anniversary of the genocidal campaign committed against the Barzanis by the former Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein in the early 1980s.
Barzani civilians, all male, were rounded up in camps by the former Saddam Hussein regime on July 31, 1983, in Erbil. Eight thousand of them were murdered that year. A number of their bodies were found in Iraq’s southern desert after that regime was deposed in 2003.
“Despite the fact that 40 years have passed over the act, there are still those that seek to infringe on the Kurdish people’s legitimate rights with the same chauvinistic mindset of the Anfal campaign,” Barzani warned, referring to an eight-stage genocidal campaign committed by the former against the Kurds in the 1980s.
The genocide, Barzani said, was part of the “racist campaign” against the Kurdish people by the Ba’athist regime that had committed similar acts against the Feyli Kurds and people in Halabja and Garmiyan region.
The regime bombarded the Kurdish city of Halabja with chemical bombs, killing around 5,000 people and displacing thousands of others in the late 1980s. Thousands of other Kurdish civilians were rounded up and displaced from their rural areas as part of the Anfal campaign.
Barzani highlighted the series of uprisings and revolts that the people of the Barzan area have staged against “tyranny and oppression” over the course of their history.
The premier reiterated his call for compensating the victims and their families by the Iraqi federal government according to the constitution.
In 2005, a Kurdish team led by the former Kurdistan Region Minister of Human Rights visited remote areas close to Iraq’s borders with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. They were able to uncover the remains of 500 Barzani victims. Those bodies were brought back to Barzan in 2007 and, in the first funeral procession of its kind, reburied in graves there.
The Barzani genocide preceded the Anfal campaign mounted by the Saddam regime against the Kurdish people in the late 1980s.
At least 182,000 Kurdish civilians were killed in the Anfal, and thousands of villages were leveled.
In July last year, at least 100 remains of human bodies were recovered from the southern desert region in Iraq and were buried in the Barzan area in northern Erbil province.