Van Nuys, CA -- Congressman Howard L. Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Comittee, today issued the following statement on the 20th anniversary of the chemical weapons attack on Kurdish Iraqis at Halabja:

“Twenty years ago this week Saddam Hussein committed the single most brutal crime of his genocidal 'Anfal' campaign against the Iraqi Kurds – the atrocity at Halabja. Attacked with mustard gas and other nerve agents, thousands of Kurds died on the spot, and many more perished later from the effects.

"Even today, many Halabja victims continue to suffer the chemical weapons' after-effects. The high rates of cancer and birth defects in the two decades since the attack provide a stark reminder of the human cost of this tragedy.

"Halabja was the most deadly attack of the 'Anfal' campaign, which lasted two years; murdered more than 100,000 civilians; destroyed more than 4,000 villages; and irreparably scarred the landscape of Kurdistan. It also in the end scarred the soul of an international community that remained largely silent at the time.

“We must commemorate this chemical weapons attack on a civilian population, and condemn it for the genocide that it was. And we must make that sacred memory our guarantee that its like shall not happen again."