MADRID, Spain, MESOP  – 17.3.2013 –  The Kurdistan Regional Government and Spain’s leading institute for the Middle East on Thursday in Madrid marked the 25th anniversary of the chemical attack on Halabja.

Around 100 people attended the Halabja remembrance held in Casa Arabe, Spain’s government institute for promoting relations with the Middle East. This was the first time that the Casa Arabe devoted an event to Kurdistan and Halabja since its opening in 2006. The commemoration was opened by the Director of Casa Arabe, Mr Lopez Busquets, and the Kurdistan Regional Government’s Representative to Spain, Mr Daban Shadala. Mr Busquets, said, “We are glad to host this event today in Casa Arabe. This horrible tragedy was always in the hearts of Spanish people, but today is the first time we have gathered to commemorate it, and it is especially significant to do it here, in Casa Arabe.” Mr Shadala thanked all the participants for their support and said, “Halabja was by far the worst crime committed against the Kurdish people during this campaign and we, as a nation, have since done our utmost to guarantee that such events will never reoccur in our nation’s future; ensuring that the children of tomorrow will not face the atrocities that the children of yesterday so unfortunately faced.”

Spain’s Ambassador to Iraq, Mr Jose Turpin, who was the guest of honour at the rememberance ceremony, represented the Spanish Government in Iran at the time of the chemical attack. He expressed his sorrow and deep sympathy with the people of Halabja, and talked of his visit in recent years to the Halabja Martyrs Monument, accompanied by Mr Shadala, to express his solidarity with the victims of the massacre.

Mr Manuel Martorell, a Spanish journalist, writer and specialist on the Middle East, travelled to Kurdistan with a group of journalists a year after the attack on Halabja, visited destroyed villages and cities and talked to the survivors. At the remembrance, he gave a presentation on the tragedy in Halabja, showed interviews with survivors recounting their experiences, and photographs of victims and destroyed villages. A documentary film about Halabja was shown called Death of Rain, by Habib Ghaderi. The remembrance was organized by the Kurdistan Regional Government Representation in Spain, in cooperation with Casa Arabe.