The Center of Halabja against Anfalization and Genocide of the Kurds (CHAK) works on issues related to genocide and crimes against humanity, and supports attempts to recognize crimes committed against the Kurdish people; helping the victims; persecuting perpetrators; and revealing the contribution and participation of chemical companies in Iraqi production of chemical weapons in the 1980s, etc.
In October 2007 CHAK members received a call for proposals to hold a genocide conference of the eighth biennial meeting of genocide scholars suggested by IAGS, the International Association of Genocide Scholars. The call was sent to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). CHAK believed that holding a vital genocide conference with participation by known genocide scholars from different countries in Kurdistan would be a considerable help to the genocide case. However, KRG has given no answer yet to CHAK in this connection. Unfortunately the opportunity was there and the KRG should give a Kurdish academic institution the responsibility to take necessary steps to get the acceptance of IAGS.
In December 2007 CHAK learned that the KRG wants to hold a conference on genocide under the auspices of Nechirvan Barzani, the president of the KRG. Holding the conference in this way, by the KRG and under its president, points towards a biased and unprofessional conference in which several topics related to Kurdish genocide would not be touched; the papers would be limited to topics influenced by the KRG’s policy. A conference that set political limits on topics and especially on objective criticism cannot make much of a contribution. This conference should be held by a neutral academic institute in Kurdistan without the political involvement of the KRG, except for financial support.
CHAK expects the KRG’s conference will avoid several subjects (listed at the end of the text), and like other conferences held by the KRG will be used to promote KRG’s political interests.
CHAK, an active Kurdish organization on genocide, is a Kurdish organization that has worked on issues of genocide, ethnic cleansing and other crimes against humanity committed against the Kurdish people. Accordingly CHAK has arranged conferences, seminars, meetings, presentations, annual ceremonies, demonstrations, and has collected signatures, etc. CHAK could contribute to the conference actively and press for a neutral and free genocide conference. The absence of CHAK at this conference will not help the case for genocide, nor will it help the impartiality of the conference. It seems that the KRG did not dare to involve CHAK in the conference because of CHAK’s impartiality and criticism concerning issues forbidden in the KRG’s world. CHAK will investigate and analyze every aspect of topics related to Kurdish tragedies, which is not in the interests of the KRG.
The expected bias of the conference and its lack of independence as well the aim of using the conference for party politics has caused writers and researchers among CHAK members to refuse participation in the conference.
In brief, the main drawbacks to the conference are:
1. A neutral academic institution should take responsibility of the conference, far from the influence of political parties and the KRG.
2. The conference should be held in Halabja, which is the heart of the crime of Anfal genocide, instead of in Hawler (Arbil).
3. Subjects that are expected to be ignored are: Kurdish Jashe’s role in the crime of genocide; the forgotten victims and families of the victims; the Iraqi state’s apology to the Kurdish people; the unfair Iraqi tribunal and its scandals; the reasons for the KRG’s passivity and ignorance of issues related to genocide; the Kurdish leaders’ protection of perpetrators, etc.
CHAK wishes an impartial analysis good luck, but because of the reasons mentioned above and the expected abuse of the conference created by the non academic character of the host, the conference can hardly provide a professional and unbiased forum of papers on genocide.
The Center of Halabja against Genocide and Anfalization
CHAK’s statement on KRG’s genocide conference in Hewler