Relatives of Kurdistan civil war’s missing victims demand the truth

KT News and Comment:

Mothers of missing victims talking to the local media

Mothers of missing victims talking to the local media

The fall-out from the 1990s civil war between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) – waged, on opposite sides, by the current presidents of the Kurdistan Region and Iraq – continues to add salt to the victims’ wounds. Although the exact number of the casualties is still unknown (as the leaders of both “once at war but now in coalition” ruling parties continue to bury their heads in the sand), it’s thought to be around 36,000.

Aside from this, the fate of hundreds is still unknown – they could be dead or still alive in the ruling parties’ secret prisons.

"It's been 16 years since my dad was 'Anfaled' at the hands of Kurds"*

“It’s been 16 years since my dad was ‘Anfaled’ at the hands of Kurds”. Note: Anfal was the genocide campaign carried out by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds; this placard says the Kurdish leaders also carried out Anfal – against their fellow Kurds.

According to unofficial figures, there are 118 missing who were affiliated to the PUK and 150 who were affiliated to the KDP and Islamic parties.

On Sunday 7th Oct, the legal secretary of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Mohamed Qaradaghi, broke 16 years silence to claim that none of the missing men are alive.

However, a member of the Kurdistan parliament human rights committee, Sargul Qaradaghi, told the local media: “We do not accept the KRG’s legal secretary’s claims as official confirmation as we believe missing victims are still alive in the KRG’s secret prisons.” She went on to say: “We have information of existing secret prisons and people who have been detained in them have confirmed this to us on condition of anonymity because they fear for their lives”. Sargul Qaradaghi demanded that the KRG study this dossier carefully and respond to the families of the missing victims officially.

On Monday 8th Oct, families of the missing victims protested in front of the Kurdistan parliament.One of the protesters told local press: “If they are alive, we want to be able to visit them. If however they are dead, we want their bodies back for proper burials.”

Daughter of a missing victim

Daughter of a missing victim

A mother of one missing victim said: “My son was arrested in 2003. I visited him then, now I want to know his whereabouts.”

A former missing victim, whose brother is still missing, said : “Both my parents died after years of waiting to be reunited with my brother. We have lost everything we had questing after him and we still don’t know where he is or what has happened to him.”

Kurda Omer’s brother (Hashimy Jihaz) is one of the missing victims. Kurda said: “16 years ago my brother surrendered himself during the civil war. He was taken as a prisoner, we want to know who killed him, who ordered him to be killed.”

Son of a missing victim

Son of a missing victim

Another mother said: “I have spent the past nine consecutive years on the first day of Eid in front of the prison, hoping to see my son.”

A daughter demanded of the state: “I don’t want anything from you , keep the wealth, keep the oil, keep your betrayal of the struggle, all I want is my dad back.”

Copyright © 2012

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