Swedish MP Jabar Amin Clarifies Parliament’s Stance on Anfal

10/12/2012 RUDAW –  By JEBAR AMIN – STOCKHOLM, Sweden—In the past several days Kurdish media outlets have variously covered the Swedish Parliament’s recognition of the Anfal Campaign as genocide, but it seems that the matter is still not clear to many people. Some say the Swedish Parliament recognized Anfal as genocide. Others say the motion was in fact rejected. For their part, Swedish MPs have not provided any explanation to this matter.

As a Swedish MP, I will try to shed some light on the process and how it went in Parliament. In early October, a number of MPs from the Swedish Green Party and the Social Democratic Party presented two separate proposals to the Swedish parliament to recognize the Anfal Campaign as genocide. The Swedish Left Party had also presented a similar proposal to Parliament in the past. When the Foreign Policy Committee started discussing these proposals, members of the ruling parties spoke of a constitutional obstacle, arguing that such foreign issues fall within the duties of the government and not the Parliament.

They said the job of Parliament is legislative and not foreign policy.

Another obstacle referred to by the ruling party was how to prove the four conditions of the second Article of the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.  According to Article 2 of that convention, genocide means any of the following acts, committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, such as:

(a) Killing members of the group

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part

(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group

(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

By mid-November, however, the Foreign Policy Committee decided to find a way to recognize Anfal as genocide without violating the Constitution. Their method was to win a unanimous vote within the committee to recognize the Kurdish Anfal.

But the committee’s unanimous vote remained an unofficial decision so as not to violate the Swedish Constitution. This decision was very effective and it gained the support of the eight parties in Parliament.

 This multi-party approval also cancelled the previous separate proposals.

After reading the report by the Foreign Policy Committee in the Swedish Parliament on November 28, 2012, the eight political parties in the Swedish Parliament declared that they recognize the Kurdish Anfal as genocide, without voting on this issue in order to avoid violation of the Swedish Constitution. On the other hand, the Swedish Left Party, the Swedish Green Party and the Social Democratic Party insisted that the vote is recorded as a formal decision; otherwise the Swedish government might have ignored the case. Two years ago, the Swedish parliament decided to recognize the Armenian genocide against the will of the Swedish government, but for that reason the Swedish government still ignores this parliamentary decision.

We can say that our method has more chances of success with the Swedish government.

I hope I was able to clarify that the Foreign Policy Committee of the Swedish Parliament and the eight political parties within the Swedish Parliament have all recognized the Anfal as genocide without voting on it in the parliament. I bear the guilt of not making this clear enough for you earlier. This ambiguity does not lessen the importance of the stance of the Foreign Policy Committee of the Swedish Parliament and the Swedish political parties. I am personally grateful to them at a time that no parliament in any of our neighboring countries is willing to take such a stance.

-Jabar Amin is a Kurdish MP in the Swedish Parliament.