UNAMI head delivers speech on 39th anniversary of Barzani genocide
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq and Head of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), participated in a special ceremony held on Saturday for the return of the remains of 100 Barzani genocide victims murdered by the Saddam Hussein regime in 1983.
Saturday marked the 39th anniversary of the 1983 genocide, in which thousands of men and boys from the Barzani tribe were systematically murdered by Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime.
UN Iraq envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert at a ceremony for the return of remains of 100 Barzani genocide victims killed by Saddam's regime in 1983, said that the victims's families were denied the opportunity to bury their loved ones and 'no words' can describe their suffering. pic.twitter.com/9fHDSy94gV— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) July 30, 2022
The bodies of 100 victims arrived at the Kurdistan Region’s Erbil International Airport on Saturday. They will be reburied in the Barzan region on Sunday.
“We are here to commemorate, with great sadness, the enforced disappearance - 39 years ago - of 8,000 Barzani men and boys. They vanished, never to be seen again,” UN Envoy Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, said in her speech.
“And as we remember those who tragically lost their lives, our thoughts are also with their families and friends. To date, many of them are still waiting for the truth to come out, having cruelly been denied the opportunity to lay their loved ones to rest,” she said.
“There are simply no words that can describe the feelings of profound despair. Today, we also memorialize the return of 100 Barzanis, the third of its kind. Between 2004 and 2005, 500 missing loved ones were returned to their ancestral homes,” she added.
“In 2011, another 93 were brought home to their final resting place. And while the search goes on, we express our hope that every last father, brother, uncle, and son will be found.”
Hennis-Plasschaert also underlined that the ceremony served “as a stark reminder” that such horrific acts are never to be repeated.
Moreover, she added that the victims should be honored by working together.
“It is the only way to begin to heal the deep wounds left by decades of conflict and division, to set the conditions which allow all people to prosper, in safety and security, with respect for one another.”