March 16th, 2019 – 31st Anniversary of the Halabja and Al-Anfal Campaign
It is with a deep sense of reverence that I commemorate with you the 31st Anniversary of the Halabja Genocide and the Al-Anfal Campaign.
On this solemn occasion, we pay homage to the victims and express solidarity with the survivors and their descendants. As we reflect, we must re-commit to fervently work to ensure that such unspeakable acts are never repeated.
On March 16, 2010, the 22nd Anniversary of the Gas Attack on Halabja, Members of Parliament adopted my Motion to condemn the poisonous gas attack in Halabja, the destruction of Iraqi Kurdish villages and the systematic persecution of Kurds in Iraq by Saddam Hussein as crimes against humanity.
Motion M-505 reads as follows:
That this House acknowledge the actions of Saddam Hussein against the Kurdish people in Iraq including the poison gas attack against Halabja on March 16, 1988, the destruction of Iraqi Kurdish villages and the systematic persecution of Kurds in Iraq and condemn these acts as crimes against humanity.
Exactly ten years ago, I visited Kurdistan, Iraq and the Monument of Halabja Martyrs. I told the survivors I would ask the House of Commons to declare the actions of the Saddam Hussein government against the Kurdish people to be a crime against humanity. Thanks to all Members of Parliament, I was able to keep my promise.
I have travelled to Kurdistan a few times. In 2013, I had the distinct honour to be in Kurdistan as we commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Halabja Kurdish Genocide.
This year will raise the Kurdish Flag at Toronto City Hall.
The Al-Anfal Campaign occurred between 1986 and 1989. Thousands of men, women and children were executed during the systematic extermination of the Kurdish population in Iraq. The Campaign included the use of ground offensives and systematic destruction of settlements.
As the descendent of survivors of the Pontian-Greek Genocide, I believe it is important for us to remember the lessons of history and uphold the values Canadians hold dear – peace, freedom, democracy and respect. In so doing, we will develop a deeper understanding of our duty and responsibility to our fellow man to ensure that we live in peace and harmony.
This is a day we solemnly acknowledge the horrors of the past, and pledge to work toward a more just and tolerant future for all mankind.