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Ladies and gentlemen


Today we commemorate a human tragedy, a tragedy that shocked our nation’s conscience, a tragedy which cannot be forgotten. Thirty-seven years ago, on the 24th April 1974, the aircrafts of the Ba’ath’s regime in Iraq bombarded the city of Qaladize by rockets and Napalm and destroyed the city. The bombardment targeted the camps of the University of Sulemani, schools, hospitals, government offices, public places, markets and many other districts. As a result, hundreds of civilians were killed and injured; most of them were children, and students. In fact that was not the first time that the city and its civilians were targeted and suffered. However, the attack was very brutal and such a catastrophe has never been experienced before by Qaladize and its surrounding areas.

The city of Qaladize is the centre of Pishdar region; it is located at the east of the governorate of Sulemani. The region of Pishdar with an area of 1300km2 is a mountain area bordered between Iraq and Iran. The region has a geopolitical importance for the Kurdish Liberation Movement, uprisings and revolutions. Therefore, the dictatorship regimes of Iraq treated the area brutally.

In 1974, when the agreement between Iraqi regime and the Kurdish leadership which lasted four years collapsed, consequently fighting resumed between the Kurds and the Iraqi regime. Then the University of Sulemani was re-established in Qaladize and most of the students and lecturers settled it the city. Unfortunately, many of them were the victim of the attack.
In March 1975, an agreement was signed between Iraq and Iran which led to the collapse of Kurdish revolution. The Ba’ath regime started to take reprisal against the civilians of the region from 1976 to 1978. Most of the rural areas were destroyed and their inhabitants were mass deported and forces to settle in camps. In addition, many people arrested, executed or shot dead in their villages. 
 
These oppressions and suppressions by the Iraqi regime towards the residents of Qaladize, forced the population to peacefully demonstrate against the regime on the eighth anniversary of the tragedy. As it was expected, the Iraqi regime responded harshly, consequently two women were killed and tens injured. Around one hundred were arrested in which most of them were school girls. However, the demonstration in Qaladize spread in other cities of Kurdistan which lasted three months.  

The Ba’ath regime used every opportunity to attack the city of Qaladize.  In 1988, the camp of Bastasten was evicted and in 1989 the city was attacked and razed to the ground. Most of the civilians were forced to flee to other areas without any basic services.

The Kurdistan region of Iraq has been independent from the Iraqi regime for the last twenty years and the Ba’ath regime was ousted eight years ago. However, the residents of the area are bombarded by the aircrafts of Turkey and artillery of Iran without getting any assistance from the Kurdish and Iraqi authorities. In addition, the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities have done nothing to stop the bombardment. 
Furthermore, the region has not been provided with services and funds to re-build. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has not replied to the demands of the residents of the city adequately.

Despite of the residents of the region being suffered from the policies of the Iraqi regimes, the Kurdish civil war further deteriorated the situation and made the life difficult for the residents of the region. Many civilians were killed, injured and others disappeared during the civil war in the 1990s. Thus, we demand the Kurdistan Regional Government to find the missing individuals of the civil war.

We as Pishdar Solidarity Team commemorate this tragedy and pay tribute to the victims and their families. In doing so, we are working for the following aims:   

  • Recognise the attack of the city of Qaladize and eviction of its residents as genocide and crime against humanity. 

  • The Iraqi government compensate all victims of the region, including financial and physiological compensations.

  • Allocate a special budget by the Iraqi and Kurdistan governments to re-build the area and human development. 

We also take this opportunity to demand the UK parliament and government to press the Turkish and Iranian authorities to stop the bombardment.
 
Pishdar Solidarity Team
28 April 2011

 

 

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