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The initial report of the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization on the Baghdida (Al-Hamdaniya-Iraq) wedding tragedy

The initial report of the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization on the Baghdida (Al-Hamdaniya-Iraq) wedding tragedy

From its operations room regarding the bloody wedding ceremony in Baghdida (Al-Hamdaniya).

  • Hammurabi Human Rights Organization is continuing its human rights efforts on the ground regarding this horrible tragedy.
  • Hammurabi points out a group of points that you find necessary to stop at in order to show the truth of what happened.
  • Healing the wounds and consoling requires balanced behavior in dealing with the disaster.

As the first minutes of the bloody fire that broke out in Baghdida - Al-Hamdaniya passed, on the evening of the twenty-sixth of September 2023, Hammurabi Human Rights Organization mobilized its cadres and members of its general body in Nineveh and Erbil governorates in continuous field human rights and documentation work, taking care to stand up to the merits. This was a tragic event. The work team that followed up on the incident included Ms. Pascale Warda, President of the organization, Mr. Louis Markus Ayoub, Vice President of the organization, and Mr. William Warda, Director of Public Relations. A number of the organization’s cadres from its branches in Erbil and Dohuk also joined the team. The work team listened to testimonies. Lively with the families of the victims and survivors of the incident, and then conducted field investigations with them for more than two consecutive days. At the same time, the team visited the site of the tragedy (Al-Haytham Wedding Hall), in which more than (122) people were killed so far, without mentioning the dozens of missing and wounded, People are lying down in hospitals. They are all young men, women, children and the elderly. Out of humanitarian responsibility, the organization initiated a series of diverse activities, as it offered condolences and sympathy to the families of the victims and participated with them in the masses that were held and the prayers that were offered for their souls inside and outside Iraq. It also attended the funeral and burial ceremonies repeated for more than one group in the Resurrection Cemetery in Al-Hamdaniya (Baghdida). Hammurabi also participated in the candlelight marches of pain in which thousands of people from Erbil and Baghdida participated. The organization’s team also attended the numerous condolences meetings held by the families of the victims, which were spread throughout most of the streets of the town of Baghdida.

     Based on the responsibility of the Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, it finds that dealing with this tragedy should focus on revealing the facts as they are and the reasons that led to the huge number of victims, and the necessity of declaring Baghdida (Al-Hamdaniya) a disaster area, and providing it with all necessary support, care, and compensation. It finds Hammurabi also stated that one of the priorities of its responsibilities in field monitoring is to confirm that this momentous event is in dire need of a close and scientific investigative look in which a judicial committee will contribute with a number of forensic and scientific-technical experts to examine the remnants of the fire and conduct interviews with the survivors to learn closely all the details of what happened and the necessity Participation of representatives from the city's local community in the committee to increase transparency and trust.

During the meetings and investigations conducted by the Hammurabi team, there were many accounts and stories that expressed the spirit of love, redemption, and altruism that the families of the victims made in order to save lives, and that express feelings that are difficult to express. The team also heard other stories that express the chivalry of the Iraqis, who regardless of religion or Nationalism or sect, they broke through the fire in order to save the lives of innocent people, and also the effective role played by the doctors in Mosul , Erbil and Duhok who performed difficult and complex operations in record time, and some paid from their own money to provide the medical supplies that the hospitals lacked, in order to save the lives of many.

The visions, questions, requests and complaints of the people that Hammurabi Organization team met in Al-Hamdaniya focused on the following:

1 - What is the real cause of the fire? How could it happen so quickly, for the flames to surround the attendees in a record time that does not exceed a short period of time, which may not exceed, as some have mentioned, a few minutes between three and five minutes, and the flaming secondary iron roof collapses on the revelers.

2- Many people doubted the legality of the hall owner’s obtaining licenses to establish it, and they expressed their dissatisfaction and questions about the actions of the hall owner during the outbreak of the fire, when he turned off the lights and escaped after taking the camera recording device with him.

3- Most of the survivors and families of the victims believe that the accident was not accidental, but there are doubts that it was an intentional act. There were also accusations from the families of the victims that the cause of the accident was linked to the state of political and security instability that the region has witnessed since 2003 until today, and at the same time there is Political and security competition prevails in the region, with multiple levels, trends and dimensions.

4- Collective dissatisfaction with the results of the investigation announced by the investigative committee formed by the government, which considered it a general and traditional report, which did not rise to the level of professionalism, scientific and its results came quickly, inconsistent with what requires caution and sufficient scrutiny in announcing the results in such tragedies, and this is consistent with what is required. Many of the victims’ families reminded him that at most no samples were taken of the fire waste to be analyzed in specialized and scientific laboratories, to find out the materials used in fireworks, the nature of the highly flammable materials and what they are, and why they were used in a hall that lacked safety and security conditions, as well as benefiting from video and audio recordings of the incident. Standing at the complete charring of the bodies and searching for the black box, as they say, by looking beyond the event.

5- All the families of the victims who survived the tragedy are living in shock, in addition to the townspeople who are still living with their families and friends in the horror of the tragedy, which will certainly have a direct negative impact on the psychological and physical health condition of the victims’ families and relatives, and on the existential reality and Christian presence. Indirectly in the region, if the investigations remain at their current level and announced results.

     The Hammurabi Human Rights Organization, as it continues its work in the field under an advanced ongoing human rights operations room in the field, is interested in pointing out a number of essential points that must not be neglected under any circumstances.

First: Corruption, negligence, negligence, lack of accountability, and lack of emergency tools are among the clear reasons that led to the catastrophe it led to.

Second: It is not permissible to rule out the existence of an act of sabotage behind the incident, with the intention of inflicting heavy losses on the people of the Nineveh Plain and intensifying panic and fear in order to pass a specific political agenda against the Christian component in particular for the purposes of achieving specific gains at the expense of Iraqi lives.

Third: The government report that was issued in the wake of the accident, including the facts and recommendations it contained, remains in dire need of logistical support with field information and facts, knowing that the committee did not indicate any samples that could be relied upon completely to dismantle the causes of the accident.

Fourth: The Hammurabi Human Rights Organization warns against political exploitation of the tragedy, by this or that party, and seeking to form false convictions, intended to confuse the cards and live on that, far from the moral values that should govern what happened.

Fifth: Hammurabi Human Rights Organization looks forward to the government in Baghdad submitting a more accurate, comprehensive, scientific and fair report to determine all the circumstances of the painful incident. It also looks with more attention to the judicial committee that the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council ordered to be formed for the purpose of field investigation, and it is very important that it include, (this committee) legal and criminal experts who carry out a thorough field examination to assist the Judicial Committee in the conclusions it reaches. This to increase transparency and enhance people’s confidence in the results of the report, it is preferable to include representatives from the local community, from civil society organizations working in the region to the committee.

Sixth: The Hammurabi Human Rights Organization recommends the necessity of working to develop government programs aimed at training all governors and local governments in order to preserve the lives of citizens, and to put the safety of citizens’ lives before any other private or public goal. And safety and security conditions must be imposed and implemented in the place of gatherings, starting with the home, school, public departments, and assembly halls in all their forms, without exception, taking into account that Iraq will not lose more than it has lost, if it allocates budgets to bring the latest firefighting means to impose them in all institutions and places of work and assembly.

Seventh: Hammurabi Organization recommends that the families of the victims be included in the Martyrs’ Families Law or that monthly salaries be allocated because many of the victims’ families lost their breadwinners in the accident.

Eighth: Hammurabi Organization praises an idea proposed by the people of Mosul, which is to change the purpose and location of Al-Haytham Hall to become a specialized hospital for treating burns in Nineveh.

Eighth: The Hammurabi Human Rights Organization expresses appreciation and gratitude for all the supportive and supportive stances on the ground to assist the families of the victims and provide aid to those injured in the fire. It notes that it organized tours of hospitals, in Arbil and Hamdanya  in which it inspected the conditions of the injured and learned about honorable stories of solidarity, support and sympathy found in these noble patriotic and humanitarian stances. Titles of Iraqi positions based on original chivalry.

The event, despite its cruelty, featured epics and heroics that could be documented in literature and books that tell of the chivalry and humanity of Iraqis, and Hammurabi will issue a detailed report on this, supported by names and other details.


Hammurabi Organization for Human Rights

Legal field operations room

In Al-Hamdaniya