Survey of Victims Injured by Chemical Weapons Presented – Letter to German Government


In commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the chemical bombardments in March 16, 1988, which left 5,000 people dead and thousands injured and displaced, our organization SPEY, invited government and non-government respresentatives as well as journalists to discuss the results of the survey on victims of chemical weapons at a meeting in Erbil. The survey was done in cooperation with Swiss Green Cross and WADI.

The survey examines the life conditions of those injured by chemical weapons in different regions of Iraqi-Kurdistan. As already known, the attacks were directed at regions of Kurdistan where hundreds of thousands of people were living, and tens of thousands were directly injured by them. Therefore, many people are still struggling today with diseases as a result of the chemical attacks, while others are facing psychological problems. The environment they are living in is still damaged.

The purpose of the new study is to focus on the main problems, bring them to the attention of the government and help find solutions for those still affected and injured as a consequence of the attacks. According to the research, not many received the medication and assistance they needed from the government. Furthermore, we found that many people did not even have information about the assistance, medical care and support for families of martyrs which they were entitled to receive from the government. Especially in remote regions, assistance and information were lacking.

This survey and information gathering took three months. During that time, we visited almost all of the attacked regions and talked directly with the people. For an accurate assessment, more work and research are needed and therefore we are helping other organizations to continue with the study and with support for these people.

The injured and victims of the chemical weapons attack as well as the families of martyrs and other citizens in the affected regions also face economic difficulties. Some of them are the only ones or one of very few survivors of large families. Having lost their families they have little or no support to deal with their injuries and medical problems. Not enough has been done to support these people. This issue did not receive attention from the health authorities or university research. The government provided very little support and funds for these survivors of a genocide. It is high time to change this and support these people in whatever way we can.

We hope that with this modest survey we can assist these victims. Meanwhile, we hope that the ministry of martyrs and health will cooperate and give efficient assistance to the victims of the chemical attacks.

Respresentatives of Spey later visited the German consulate in Erbil to hand over a letter to German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle and discuss possibilities for German assistance to the people of Halabja. The letter asks Germany to recognize and commemorate the Kurdish genocide as a crime against humanity and to help improve the situation of the citizens in general and strengthen the ties between Germany and Kurdistan.