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On 33rd anniversary of chemical bombardment Parliament and Government discuss how to improve Halabja's infrastructure and services

Kurdistan Parliament on 16 March, the 33rd remembrance of the Halabja chemical bombardment, held a sitting on how to improve services for the people of Halabja governorate.

The Kurdistan Regional Government ministers for the interior, planning, culture and youth, municipalities and tourism, agriculture and water resources, reconstruction and investment, trade and industry participated in the sitting, as well as the deputy minister of martyrs and Anfal affairs, the head of the investment board and the deputy governor of Halabja.

The Parliament held five minutes’ silence in honor and remembrance of the victims of the 1988 chemical bombardment of Halabja.

Speaker Faiq said, "This is the first time that the Kurdistan Parliament has convened on 16th March with the presence of Kurdistan Regional Government's minister to discuss the problems in Halabja governorate. The aim of this sitting is to discuss how to solve the problems, all of us together in Parliament, the KRG and other relevant actors, so that the infrastructure and services in Halabja governorate are up to the standards that we all want for Halabja. Therefore we asked the honourable MPs, the committees of the Kurdistan Parliament to prepare reports on this matter.”

The chairs of several Parliament committees each read their report on the problems in Halabja and how to improve the situation for the governorate. The three committees that provided reports were Martyrs, Genocide and Political Prisoners; Culture, Civil Society, Sports and Youth; and Municipalities, Transport, Communication and Tourism.

They highlighted how to provide better services to martyrs' families; gaining international legal recognition of the crime as an act of genocide and gaining reparations for their material and other damages; improving tourism, cultural and youth facilities and infrastructure; providing job opportunities for young people, employing the governorate’s graduates; and many other services needed to revitalize the province's economy.

Eight-two MPs from all of Parliament’s parties gave their opinions and suggestions about services for Halabja governorate, which they said deserved much more from the government after the suffering and trauma that the people have experienced.

MPs stressed that the government should do much more particularly for the survivors and relatives of the victims through better services and material and moral compensation.

MP Dr. Galawezh Obaid Othman (KDP), a member of the Health, Environment and Consumer Rights Committee, said that according to research on the health and environment of Halabja city since the chemical attack, the environment and agricultural produce are safe and do not pose a risk to the people of Halabja.

The KRG ministers and other officials responded to the committees’ reports and MPs’ comments and questions. They explained the current and planned projects in Halabja funded by the KRG, and said that these are a basic duty to the governorate which they will do all they can to serve.

Speaker Faiq asked the three committees to compile their recommendations and direct them to the Parliament's Presidency.