0817 GMT May 19, 2019
March 16 marks the 31st year after Iraq’s Baath regime’s heinous chemical attack against Kurdish city of Halabja that killed thousands of people during the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s.
Halabja has witnessed one of the most notorious crimes against humanity.
On March 16, 1988 Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein ordered his air force to attack Halabja with chemical bombs, using nerve agents such as VX and mustard gas to kill thousands of innocent civilians.
Streets were strewn with dead bodies of women and children. Many perished by water streams as they tried to wash the deadly gas off their faces.
The attack killed between 3,200 and 5,000 people and injured 7,000 to 10,000 more, most of them civilians.
Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fernando Arias in a statement on Saturday referred to former Iraqi regime chemical attack in Halabja as the most lethal in the history.
On the 16th of March, thirty-one years ago today, chemical weapons claimed the lives of thousands of innocent victims in the town of Halabja.
This terrible event remains the most lethal use of chemical weapons against a civilian population in history. The attack left a legacy of pain and suffering for the survivors, their families, and their community.
Today, we commemorate this tragic event with respect for its victims, as well as a renewed commitment to ensuring such tragedies are never repeated.
On behalf of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, I not only offer our deepest sympathies to the authorities and residents of Halabja, but also our promise to maintain our efforts to eradicate the threat of these terrible weapons.