FAYLEE KURDS situation in Iraq

April month is Faylee Kurds Martyr days. The Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein deported hundreds of thousands of Faylee Kurds from Iraq to Iran. First, the government withdrew their Iraqi citizenship. Since then thousands of young people had been arrested and used as guinea pigs in the development of chemical and biological weapons.

During the deportation, the Faylee Kurds had to cross the mined border areas between Iraq and Iran. Mines exploded, children and adults died or lost arms and legs. Young people who were arrested have never returned home, and it is still unknown what has happened to them.

Faylee Kurds situation in Iraq has not improved, despite promises from the political groups that share power.

A week ago, the Swedish Faylee Kurd Co-ordination Committees gathered in Kista to honor the memory of the people who became victims of the Baath regime in Iraq. Representatives of the political parties in Iraq and Kurdistan attended and spoke about it. They promised to solve the problem.

Lana Jafar from "Faylee Kurd Democratic Union" held a historic speech in Swedish. She told about Hussein's inhumane treatment of Faylee Kurds, and formulated their dreams of the future. We present Jafar's speech.

Kurdocide Watch CHAK
Documentation Center

Ethnic cleansing and mass killing:
Faylee Kurds Martyr day
Delivered by Lana Jafar

We thank you for coming to our gathering and wish you a warm welcome.

We gather here today to commemorate the thousands of detainee Faylee Kurd youth and young men who have disappeared without a trace, honor the hundreds of elderly, sick and disabled men and women, pregnant women, babies and children who died under appalling circumstances in the mass forcible deportation of Faylee Kurds from Iraq to Iran. We also honor the mothers who passed away and took with them to the graves their only wish and dream to see their beloved sons.

We recently honored the memory of the victims of Anfal and Halabja. Kurdish leaders, including Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, has publicly said that the Anfal actually began with the mass deportations and ethnic cleansing of Faylee Kurds which began in 1980 and continued until 1990. Kurdish politicians argue that the chemical weapons that killed thousands in Halabja and other villages in Kurdistan during the nineteen eighties, had been used against detainee Faylee Kurds in the Iraqi former regimes experiments with chemical and biological weapons. That is why they have disappeared without a trace. And this may be a plausible explanation for why they have not found in the so far discovered mass graves, although they number "over 20,000" missing Faylee Kurds, and although the authorities have so far found nearly 300 mass graves in different parts of Iraq.

Who are Faylee Kurds? Faylee Kurds are a part of the Kurdish nation in the Middle East. Faylee Kurds are a part of Iraq's indigenous people. The Iraqi Faylee Kurd population was a few millions before the former totalitarian regime forcibly deported more than half of million Faylee Kurds during 1969-1972 and again from 1980 to 1990. Faylee Kurds have lived east of the Tigris River, from Kirkuk in the north all the way to Basra in the south, with major population concentration in Baghdad and surrounding areas. According to Iraqi historians Faylee Kurds ruled this area between the years 1623 and 1629, with Baghdad as their capital.

Until 1980, Faylee Kurds were successful businessmen in areas of commerce and industry. They were well-known politicians, technocrats, poets, musicians, athletes, and lawyers. A few examples: KDP's party Secretary-General, the Kurdistan Student Union President, the Kurdistan Women's Association President and two of the four politicians who founded the PUK in the seventies are Faylee Kurds. The first female lawyer and judge in Iraq and the Middle East, Zekkia Haqqi, is Faylee Kurd. The well-known, in the Arab World, Od player (guitarist), Nesir Shammari, is Faylee Kurd. We are a proud, hard working, thriving and successful Kurdish and Iraqi community.

On this day, April 4th, 1980, thirty years ago the Baghdad Chamber of Commerce called prominent Faylee Kurd businessmen to a meeting to "discuss" the import quota. There, they were rounded up by security agents and taken to the Security Police Headquarters for "interrogation". They were all seized and stripped of everything they had with them, such as identification documents, other documents, money, watches, gold rings, etc. The same day they were secretly deported to Iran. Where had they gone? No one knew then, not even their families. Why? No one had an idea. But it later became known that it was in fact the starting point for a well-planned and well-orchestrated mass deportation of Faylee Kurds and others from Iraq.

This was the beginning of mass deportations of Faylee Kurds that continued until May 19th 1990. Deportees were taken with force from their homes, schools, universities, workplaces (both private and state), and military units and from the streets. They were taken to the Security Police Headquarters and other places, such as sports arenas, where they were interrogated. Their documents, money, jewelry and everything else they had on them were taken from them. There, the victims were informed that they were no longer citizens of Iraq. They were then transferred with buses or military vehicles with black-painted windows to the border with Iran. There, they were ordered to walk across the border to the other side. Soldiers threatened the Faylee Kurds that they had orders to shoot anyone who attempted to return or even look back.

The border areas were mined war zones between Iraq and Iran. Yet, the deportees were forced to go on foot to the other side, often at night. The majority were elderly, sick, women, pregnant women, children and infants. Not even the handicapped (blind, crippled and mentally ill) escaped the forcible deportation. They had to walk a few days without water, food, medicine, etc. Many old, sick, children and infants died and were buried there (at the border). Landmines claimed many lives among the deportees. Many deported girls and women were raped by militias and mercenaries loyal to the regime.

Children between 12 and 17 years, and young and middle-aged men were separated from their families and interned in detention camps and were not allowed to go with their forcibly deported families. They have disappeared without a trace since then. The present Prime Minister of Iraq, Nuri al-Maliki, has maintained in a public speech to a group of Faylee Kurds that “more then 20 000 Faylee Kurds” have disappeared. So far we do not know anything about them and their fate.

Due to strong pressure and difficult circumstances, tens of thousands of Faylee Kurds left Iran to Western Europe, North America and Australia. Thousands of Faylee Kurds have chosen Sweden as their new second homeland.

Decision number 666: Iraq's “Revolution Command Council” took a political decision (No. 666 dated 1980-05-07) to cancel the Iraqi citizenship of all Iraqis who are of foreign origin and who are not loyal to the motherland, the people and the high nationalist and social objectives of the revolution, and deport them from the country. The decision was signed by the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and published in the official Iraqi gazette, newspaper, (al-Waqae al-Iraqi الوقائع العراقية) No. 2776, dated 1980-05-26. Saddam and the Baath Party regime has consequently annulled the Faylee Kurds Iraqi citizenship, took from them all their identity documents, records, certificates and all other papers, and confiscated all their movable and immovable property and estates. Laws and decisions in Iraq take effect after publication in the Official Gazette. But in this case, decision 666 was applied retroactively, almost two months before publication.

This collective punishment, ethnic cleansing and mass killing against Iraqi Faylee Kurds is a crime against humanity. It is contrary to all UN conventions and international law. It is a violation of basic human rights.

After 2003-04-09: It has almost been seven years since the former dictatorship was overthrown. Despite many pledges and promises by Iraq's top policy-makers, the Faylee Kurds have received no redress.

- We have not been informed about the “more than 20,000” detainees who have disappeared without a trace.

- We have not regained our Iraqi citizenship, our identity papers or our property.

Iraq's current government and politicians continue to procrastinate on these important issues, which are vital for us. Politicians in power have given us promises, pledges and sweet words, mostly during the general elections. However, they have subsequently not kept their pledges and that they were empty promises and words. The recent elections have shown once more that our problems are still not solved. Our Iraqi identity and our Iraqi citizenship were questioned. Thousands of us could not vote, and hundreds of those who could cast their votes, their votes were declared invalid by the Independent High Election Commission.

We have waited seven years to get redress, to regain what originally belonged to us, that is our Iraqi citizenship, our documents, and our property. We have not been given information about what has happened to our loved ones, who have disappeared without a trace.

How much longer must we wait and suffer?

What do the regional authorities in Kurdistan Iraq do to help us get redress?

What are the political forces in Iraq doing to help us get redress?

What can the Swedish political parties contribute to help us get redress?

What can the international community, the EU and the UN contribute to help us get redress?

Or are we, the forgotten biggest victims of the former cruel totalitarian regime in Iraq, left alone without support from anyone or anywhere?

We hope we can get honest answers to these questions now that we have given you an eye opener.

Thank you for coming. We appreciate that you show your support by listening to what we have to say.

We hope that your sympathy and solidarity will be translated into action.

Faylee Kurd Democratic Federal / Faylee Kurd Women's Network

E-mail: info@faylee.org

Web: www.faylee.org