President Nechirvan Barzani’s statement on the anniversary of the Anfal genocide

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, April 14, 2021

Today, we remember the 33rd anniversary of the Anfal operations, which was one of the most vicious crimes committed by the former Iraqi regime. Hundreds of thousands of innocent women, men, children and elderly people were forcibly taken from Kurdistan to the mass grave sites, where there was no escape. The regime brutally committed the mass killing and infanticide of more than 182,000 citizens. The genocidal Anfal crimes also led to the destruction of the beautiful environment and nature of our country as it erased traces of life permanently from thousands of villages and localities in Kurdistan.

As we mark this day, we pay tribute to the memory of our fallen victims, and we remember them with honor. They will always be in the memory of the people of Kurdistan. We honor them and pay tribute to their families who have withstood the endless pain and agony of losing their loved ones. All resources must be available to provide more and better services to the families of our fallen victims.

As we remember the victims and all martyrs of Kurdistan, it is crucial that we make all efforts to prevent the repetition of such genocidal crimes in Kurdistan or any other place in the world. This national tragedy must encourage us to further maintain unity, tolerance and mutual respect.

After the Supreme Court of Iraq recognized the Anfal crimes as genocide, crime against humanity, and war crimes, the state if Iraq has an obligation to compensate the families of the victims financially and morally. We urge the government of Iraq to provide reparations to the families of the victims. We also call on the international community to recognize this crime as genocide. The Anfal genocide should be documented in school curricula and everywhere that is necessary.

We pay tribute to the victim’s of Anfal genocide, they will always remain in our memory.

Nechirvan Barzani

President of the Kurdistan Region

Fernando trip 2

The professor from the Autonoma University of Madrid (UAM), Fernando Camacho Padilla, visits Kurdistan Region- Iraq to explore possibilities for academic cooperation.

Dr. Fernando Camacho Padilla, the professor of contemporary history at the Autonoma University of Madrid (UAM), wrapped up his trip to the Kurdistan region of Iraq last week. The main goal of his travel to the region was to visit Kurdish universities and study the possibilities of cooperation in different areas, such as students and professors exchange, joint research and publications, language teachers exchange etc.

Dr. Camacho Padilla, with the support of the KRG representation in Spain (KRG Spain), has visited Sulaimaniya University (public), Komar University (private), Koya University (public) and the University of Salahaddin – Erbil (public), all four universities are very well placed, both in the national and in the Middle East rankings.

The presidents and vice-presidents of the universities, as well as the deans of various faculties, received Dr. Camacho Padilla.  The professor Camacho Padilla presented his university, one of the best universities in Spain and worldwide, according to international rankings and spoke about the existing collaboration models between UAM and other foreign universities, especially in the Middle East. The UAM is a part of the “4 Universities Alliance”, which also includes Autonoma University of Barcelona, ​ Carlos III University of Madrid, and Pompeu Fabra University. These four universities collaborate with each other within the framework of the Erasmus + K017 program, focused on academic cooperation mainly with non – European universities. In the Middle East, the UAM works close with the University of Tehran and the Allameh Tabataba’i University.

The presidents of the universities spoke about their universities and expressed great interest in collaborating with the UAM.  Most of them have previous experience in the field of academic cooperation with Spain, such as: the Erasmus Marhaba program (University of Santiago de Compostela and the University of Almería), as well as Erasmus + program (University of Malaga) The University of Sulaimaniya also collaborates with the University of Murcia.

Additionally, Dr. Camacho Padilla underlined the importance of teaching of Spanish language in Kurdish universities – the idea that was received with great enthusiasm by Kurdish academics. This project would further contribute to the academic relations of cooperation and friendship between Spain and Kurdistan.

We have spoken with Dr. Camacho Padilla about his trip.

GRK Spain: What was the main reason of your visits to the Kurdistan region universities?

Dr. Camacho Padilla: Since I joined the UAM in January 2015, I have been struck by the interest that students have in the history of Kurdistan. The war against DAESH and the fundamental role of the Peshmerga in its defeat has made a good part of Spanish society know more closely the reality of the Kurdish people. Many students write their works, as well as master’s and bachelor’s theses, about the Kurdish. Several students have also asked me to include this topic to the study programs of the subjects I teach and even asked about possibilities for academic exchange in Kurdistan and / or recommendations on how to travel to the area to do field research.

GRK Spain: What impressions have you had about the universities in the Kurdistan region? And about Kurdistan in general?

Dr. Camacho Padilla: I have been extremely impressed by the high academic level of the universities in the region. In addition to having a long history of academic cooperation with universities in different countries, they have numerous scientific journals and a highly qualified teaching team, as well as extraordinary facilities, with large campuses and excellent equipment in the classrooms. In appearance, they could perfectly be any of the best-known Spanish universities. When it comes to Kurdistan, I want to emphasize that it is a very safe and quiet region. It is certainly an exception in the area. There is practically no crime, and the people are very friendly and helpful. It has also surprised me that a good part of the population speaks some English, so it is quite easy to get along.

GRK Spain: Do you think it would be possible for Spanish students to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan for academic stays?

Dr. Camacho Padilla: I believe that Kurdistan region meets all requirements for Spanish students to travel there safely. Additionally, there is great ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious diversity. It is definitely one of the richest territories in the Middle East, when it comes to heritage. All this is of a great value for the learning and maturing process of the students.

GRK Spain: What plans do you have to start the collaboration between UAM and the universities of Kurdistan?

Dr. Camacho Padilla: We must continue studying the different options for cooperation, especially in two areas. First of all, the possibility for the students  to convalidate their studies,  so they do not lose the academic year. Second, the search for topics of common interest between Kurdish and Spanish professors to plan research projects and joint publications. In any case, having visited Kurdistan, I firmly believe that both points could be resolved easily now.


President Nechirvan Barzani meets with leaders of political parties

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, April 8, 2021

Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani met with the leaders of political parties of the Kurdistan Region on Thursday.

At the meeting, attended by the Kurdistan Region Vice Presidents, the developments in Iraq and the greater region, the foreign and diplomatic relations of the Kurdistan Region and the upcoming Iraqi elections were discussed.

President Nechirvan Barzani’s recent visit to France, the Kurdistan Region’s role and position in regards to the new political conditions and the relations between Erbil and Baghdad were highlighted. Discussions also focused on the Iraq-US strategic dialogue including the Kurdistan Region’s participation in the ongoing talks, the developments in the Region and the relations among communities and the political parties.

The meeting reaffirmed the importance of unity and consensus among political parties in order to reach lasting solutions to the differences, and in this regard, the Kurdistan Region Presidency was lauded for its efforts to bring the political parties together.

The passage of the Iraqi Budget Bill was highlighted as a positive step towards improving the relations between the Kurdistan Region and the Federal Government. It was underlined that the implementation of the Budget Bill is essential for the economic recovery in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region with its positive impact on the resolution of the problems between Baghdad and Erbil on the basis of the constitution and within the framework of the federal system.

It was stressed that the current situation in the Kurdistan Region requires unity, national responsibility, cooperation and consensus in order to secure the constitutional rights of the people of Kurdistan Region and preserve their hard won achievements. The importance of the reform process, collective efforts to improve the livelihood of citizens and preserve their freedoms including freedom of expression, and ways to continue joint meetings among all political parties were affirmed.

President Nechirvan Barzani thanked the political parties for accepting his invitation to the meeting and reiterated that the only way to overcome the crises and differences is through collective efforts and unity which also ensures the rights and achievements and preserves the constitutional and federal entity of the Kurdistan Region. The President reaffirmed that the Kurdistan Region Presidency will continue to be a unifying factor for all.

Barzani 688

President Nechirvan Barzani’s statement on the 30th anniversary of the UNSCR 688

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, April 5, 2021

Today, we mark the 30th anniversary of an important day in the history of the people of Kurdistan. Thirty years ago, on this day, April 5, 1991, the United Nations’ Security Council issued the Resolution 688. With this resolution, the No-Fly Zone was established as a safe haven to protect large parts of Kurdistan Region and prevent further attacks from the former Iraqi regime against the people of Kurdistan.

This decision was a historic turning point for Kurdistan following the large-scale exodus of people fleeing to the mountains and then to the neighboring Iran and Turkey. The exodus was a testament of defiance from the people of Kurdistan against oppression committed by the former Iraqi regime. The UN Resolution established peace and led to the protection of the people of Kurdistan. It paved the way for the 1992 elections and the establishment of the parliament, government and the Kurdistan Region.

It was a turning point for the idea of Humanitarian Intervention and it started a new chapter in the history of the Kurdistan Region. The Resolution created new opportunities for the Kurdistan to merge as a success story in the wider region, promoting peace, coexistence and democracy.

Undoubtedly, the Kurdistan Region could have become a better model for the promotion of democracy in the past 30 years. There have been setbacks and great challenges. But at the same time, many of the setbacks that prevented the Kurdistan Region’s further development, were not of its own making. It is therefore imperative now, more than ever, that dialogue and tolerance replace disputes and hostilities, and that with the support of the internatinal communities, the Kurdistan Region and the Federal Government reach a lasting agreement for a more promising future for all parties.

On this day, we appreciate and salute the international community, which made the right decision and issued the UN Resolution. The people and leadership of Kurdistan have proved that they will contribute to peace and prosperity if given the opportunity. We urge the international community to support us to take further steps towards a better future, peace and stability for Iraq, the greater region and the world. We can together preserve and promote universal values and confront terror and extremism.

We extend our gratitude to Iran and Turkey for hosting the refugees from Kurdistan. We thank all nations that took part in the issuing of the Resolution 688, which led to the establishment of a safe haven for the people of Kurdistan. We thank the United Nations and the Non-governmental organizations. We appreciate the public opinion and people across the world who encouraged their governments to protect the people of Kurdistan. We will always remember your support and ask for your further support and partnership.

We thank the media outlets, journalists and photographers who courageously played a major role in conveying the sufferings of the people of Kurdistan at the time of the exodus, which led to the humanitarian support for the people of Kurdistan by the international community. We thank the Kurdistani community, artists and organizations in the Diaspora who relentlessly conveyed the plight of the people of Kurdistan. We salute and value the support from all.

Nechirvan Barzani
The President of the Kurdistan Region