Mass Graves Day in Iraq Date in the current year: May 16, 2016

Mass Graves Day in Iraq Mass Graves Day is an annual remembrance day in Iraq held on May 16. It commemorates the victims of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Saddam Hussein came to power in 1979, following the forced resignation of President Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr. His regime was notorious for the severe human rights violations. For instance, in 1988, Hussein launched the al-Anfal Campaign against the Kurdish population in northern Iraq. The attacks were mostly directed at Kurds who supported Iranians in the Iraq-Iran War.

In 1991, a series of popular rebellions took place in northern and southern Iraq. Kurds and Shia Muslims rebelled against Hussein's regime. The uprisings were ruthlessly suppressed, Hussein's forces committed full-scale massacres.

Mass graves containing the remains of the victims were found only in 2003, following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The first mass graves were discovered in May 2003. The number of bodies found in the graves varies depending on the source; international experts estimated 300,000 victims killed between 1983 and 1991.

Mass Graves Day is not a non-working holiday, but on this day, a moment of silence is observed to honor those who were killed for opposing Saddam Hussein's cruel regime.

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