Halabja monument opens in The Hague
THE HAGUE – Anadolu Agency
The Halabja massacre that took place on March 16, 1988, was the deadliest offensive within the al-Anfal campaign of the Saddam Hussein regime. AA PhotoA memorial dedicated to the victims of a 1988 chemical attack on the Kurds of Iraq’s Halabja was opened in the Hague on April 29.
The monument, inspired by a photograph named “Silent Witness” (bottom, right) that was taken by the Turkish war journalist Ramazan Öztürk, pays tribute to the victims of the Mustard and Sarin gas attack, which killed nearly 5,000 Kurds.
It was founded in the garden of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) headquarters, in a ceremony attended by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, the head of the chemical weapons watchdog Ahmet Üzumcü, and the mayor of The Hague, Jozias Johannes van Aartsen, along with Iraqi Kurdish officials.
Öztürk, who also attended the ceremony as a special guest, said the opening of the monument would contribute to the worldwide recognition of the massacre and expressed hopes that the international community would consider it as a genocide.
The Halabja massacre was the deadliest offensive within the al-Anfal campaign of the Saddam Hussein regime, in which some 4,000 villages were wiped out and nearly 200,000 people perished.
The Netherlands took the lead in recognizing the al-Anfal campaign as a “Kurdish Genocide” in 2005, followed by countries including Britain and Sweden.