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Iraq: PHR Documentation of Chemical Weapons Attacks Against Kurds by Hussein Regime's Anfal Campaign

For Immediate Release

Facing genocide charges, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and former Iraqi General Ali Hassan al-Majid are currently on trial in an Iraqi court for their roles in ordering and directing the Anfal Campaign, an all-out assault on the Kurds of Northern Iraq that lasted from 1987-1988. According to the 1988 PHR report Winds of Death and a subsequent investigation by PHR and Human Rights Watch (HRW), Iraqi forces used chemical weapons against the Kurds, including mustard gas and sarin.

In Winds of Death, PHR investigators Dr. Robert Cook-Deegan, Dr. Howard Hu, and Dr. Asfandiar Shukri used a survey and medical examinations to corroborate accounts of chemical weapons attacks. In 1993, their findings were further supported by soil samples taken by a PHR and HRW team investigating casualties of the Anfal Campaign. Those samples were analyzed by the British Chemical & Biological Defence Establishment (CBDE), a British Ministry of Defence laboratory. The CBDE tests found trace amounts of the compounds that comprise mustard gas and sarin.

PHR has made all of its findings and publicly released documents from its 1988 and 1993 investigations available to the Iraqi court trying Saddam Hussein through the Regime Crimes Liaison Office at their request.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.