As the first city in Iraq

Halabja joins global network combating extremism

HALABJA — Halabja has officially become a member of the Strong Cities Network, a global initiative of over 230 cities, dedicated to addressing hate, extremism, and polarization at the local level. Local officials say the city’s inclusion on the network’s website marks a significant milestone in its efforts to elevate its international standing.

Led by the Directorate of Migration, Displacement, and Crisis Response, along with the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre in Halabja, this initiative aims to enhance the province’s profile on the global stage. The Joint Crisis Coordination Center hailed this achievement as “a new milestone and a significant step on an international level.”

Rastgo Adel, the public relations and coordination officer at the Joint Crisis Coordination Center in Halabja, expressed the significance of this membership, stating, “Halabja is poised to become the first city in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to be officially accepted as a member of this network.”

Adel highlighted the opportunities this membership brings, emphasizing its potential to foster international community engagement and support projects aimed at youth empowerment, job creation, and tourism development.

As part of the network’s objectives to promote peace and coexistence, Adel mentioned plans for future conferences and workshops, with Halabja serving as a central hub for these activities, symbolizing its role as a “capital of peace.”

Membership in the network aids in highlighting Halabja’s historical and cultural significance, fostering stronger international relationships and benefiting from shared experiences.

The Strong Cities Network, launched at the United Nations in 2015, comprises over 230 cities worldwide committed to combating hate, extremism, and polarization through local initiatives and community engagement. In 1988, the Iraqi government launched a devastating chemical attack on Halabja, resulting in the loss of thousands of lives and leaving a profound impact on the community that endures to this day.