The Halabja Fund

Originally published
The world is gradually starting to notice the nightmare of Halabja. In 1988, Iraqi bombers subjected the Kurdish town and its 40,000 inhabitants to one of the worst chemical warfare attacks in history. Today its residents still struggle to cope with the horrendous aftereffects: blindness, respiratory diseases and abnormally high rates of cancer, sterility, birth defects and stillbirths.
This new international awareness stems from the efforts of Professor Christine Gosden, a medical geneticist on the faculty of the University of Liverpool, and Gwynne Roberts, a British documentary-film producer. Their accounts of the horrors of Halabja have caught the attention of journalists, humanitarian organizations and concerned people in all parts of the world.

The International Rescue Committee, along with other voluntary organizations, has been assisting Professor Gosden in her efforts to alert the humanitarian-aid community and government agencies to the severity of Halabja's horrific problems. In April she met in New York and Washington with government leaders and humanitarian-aid organizations to describe what she found when she visited Halabja. On April 22, 1998, she appeared before the Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Senate. Her testimony detailed the horrors that have beset Halabja in the decade since it was attacked with mustard gas and nerve agents including sarin, tabun, and VX. Biological weapons may have also been used.

Under the auspices of the IRC, a special Halabja Fund has been created to accept donations. The IRC will pay the costs of administering the fund, so that 100 percent of your contribution will go to assist the people of Halabja. The specific nature of the aid projects and the agencies that will administer them are now being determined. The projects will focus on helping those with the terrible injuries caused by these chemical weapons. This includes severe handicaps in children, cancer, disabling eye disorders, disfiguring skin conditions, respiratory problems, and neuropsychiatric complications. To date, dozens of donors - virtually all from the United Kingdom - have contributed to the fund.

Contributions made by U.S. taxpayers are tax deductible.

Send contributions to

The Halabja Fund
The International Rescue Committee
142 East 42nd Street - 12th Floor
New York, NY 10169-1289