Recognise mass murder of Kurds as genocide

23 September 2008

Recognise mass murder of Kurds as genocide

The so-called Anfal Operations conducted by Iraq against the Kurdish population in 1987 and 1988 should be recognised as constituting a case of genocide. ''Saddam Hussein's regime had these horrific acts on its conscience," says SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer. "A declaration from the European Commission that this crime against humanity took place would mean for the Kurdish people a recognition of the suffering inflicted on them." Together with Liberal (VVD) MEP Jules Maaten, and Bas Belder who represents the Netherlands' two small Christian parties, Meijer has tabled a number of written parliamentary questions on the issue.

Erik Meijer"We want to know whether the commission is aware of the call by the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq to have these crimes recognised as a case of genocide," Meijer explains. "In a statement in 2005 a Dutch judge spoke about this, during the trial of the poison gas merchant Frans van Anraat."

As well as the three Dutch MEPs, those signing the written questions include the Portuguese social democrat Paulo Casaca, and the Kurdish-German Feleknas Uca, of Die Linke (The Left) who, like Meijer, sits in the United European Left (GUE/NGL) group. In the Dutch Parliament questions have also been tabled, by the SP's Krista van Velzen and Harry van Bommel, as well as Liberal MP Fred Teeven, who has long been active on the issue.


All agree that an international enquiry should be established into the medical, social and economic consequences of the mass murder of the Kurds. The European Commission should be doing all in its power to bring this about. Children are still being born with deformities resulting from the poison gas attacks on Kurdish towns and villages. There is an exceptionally high occurrence of cases of cancer, including leukaemia, skin and eye diseases, and breathing disorders.


The MEPs are also hoping that their questions will persuade the European Commission to do more to offer aid to victims. According to reports, just €100.000 would enable the Halabja Post-Graduate Medical Institute to acquire low-cost medicines such as folic acid, yet it has been without money since March, 2006. There is, moreover, a need for a study of the health of the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, which will also cost money. 'Are you prepared to take over the financing of this programme either wholly or in part?' is one of the questions the cross-party, international group of Euro-MPs is putting to the Commission.

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