PUK President expresses concern on Anniversary of Halabja Chemical Attack

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) President Bafel Talabani on Thursday expressed concern on the 35th anniversary of the Halabja chemical attack by the former dictator of Iraq Saddam Hussein.

Around 5,000 people, mostly women, and children were killed when the former regime of Saddam Hussein unleashed a cocktail of deadly gas on Halabja on March 16, 1988.

The genocide was one of many horrific crimes committed by the Baath regime under Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship against the Kurdistan Region’s people.

The Halabja victims were among some 180,000 people killed during the regime’s “Anfal campaign” against the Kurds. The attack still haunts Halabja as its residents, now estimated at around 200,000, still fight for justice, care for the ill, and hunt for missing relatives.

“Serving Halabja people must be shifted from slogans to actions and our services must correspond to the sacrifice of the beloved people of the province,” Talabani said in a statement.

“The government has been neglectful. Serious and responsible steps must be taken to serve the city,” he added.

He also stated that the Iraqi Council of Minister’s decision that had recently recognized the Kurdish city of Halabja as the 19th governorate of Iraq “Was an important and necessary step for the Iraqi government to fulfill its legal and constitutional obligations and compensate the people of the city.”

Last Monday the Federal Government recognized the Kurdish city of Halabja as its 19th governorate following an executive order.

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