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10 Reasons Why Recognition Matters

Fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, were all murdered in their thousands, simply because they were Kurdish. If it was your family, would you want the world to know what happened? Would you fight for recognition? Only through formal recognition that genocide took place in Iraq, can we protect the people in Kurdistan – the Kurdish region within Iraq – from being victims of genocide again.

  1. The targeted mass murder of the Kurdish population in Iraq fulfils the legal definition of ‘genocide’, according to the United Nations Genocide Convention. In 1993, following an extensive investigation, US-based Human Rights Watch stated that the 1987/88 Anfal campaign was genocide. It is morally right for it to be recognised as such.
  2. Recognition will send a message that such atrocities will not be tolerated by the international community and help prevent them happening again.
  3. Recognition will help those who lost relatives and friends in the Iraqi Kurdish genocide come to terms with what happened to them and help them to rebuild their lives. Currently, they live in limbo; they’ve lost so much but there is no recognition of their loss.
  4. Recognition will help bring the perpetrators of the Iraqi Kurdish genocide to justice, particularly those who sold chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein. At the moment, they walk among us, enjoying their financial gains, and are free to act again in Iraq and elsewhere.
  5. In 2013, the Norwegian, Swedish, South Korean and British Parliaments all formally recognised the genocide. It is time for the rest of the international community to do the same until it is universally recognised as such.
  6. Recognition will help achieve reparations for the victims and survivors of the genocide who continue to bear the physical and mental scars and need costly medical help. 
  7. Recognition will help others speak out against persecution, reassured by the refusal of the international community to tolerate it.
  8. Recognition will remind the international community that the victims of the gas attacks continue to suffer from poor health and birth defects, as much of the land is still contaminated by chemical weapons.
  9. The people of Kurdistan have a saying: No friends but the mountains. This proved to be true in the decades that no one seemed to care that Kurdish children, women and men were being tortured, killed, thrown in to mass graves, 'disappeared', or forced out of their homes to concentration camps and prisons such as the notorious Nugra Salman. Recognition will show them that we are indeed their friends and we won't stand by and let the crime of genocide go unacknowledged.
  10. For the Kurds, the genocide is not history; it's something every Kurd lives with today. There are survivors with health problems from the use of chemical weapons, victims with psychological problems after the trauma of what they witnessed after losing loved ones in the most barbaric ways. There are large numbers of widows, orphans. For them, recognition of the genocide is a crucial acknowledgement of what they suffered and continue to suffer, a statement of support that we will not allow genocide against the Kurds to happen again.